Digital Marketing During COVID 19: How Brands Can Up Their Game?
As the Coronavirus pandemic rages across nations and economies, no one can tell what its endgame will be. There is no way to predict how many people it will infect and how many more will sadly die as a result of it.
However, one thing’s for sure – the pandemic has caused widespread damage to economies, causing global markets to crash. So, whether you are a business owner, manager, or a marketer, chances are you are feeling the pinch.
Even when the virus slows down (which will be soon hopefully), businesses will continue to struggle for at least one more year, all in an effort to make up for the time and profits lost. For example, the virus had considerably slowed down in China by the end of February, but stats show that retails sales were down by more than 20% as the unemployment rate was unusually high at 6.2%.
It is estimated that by the time COVID-19 is done with, the global economy will have lost more than $2.7 trillion.
How do the Current Uncertainties Affect Digital Marketing
Organic traffic has taken a steep downturn as buyers only seem interested in buying essentials and scoring bargains where they can. They no longer want to experiment with brands that don’t appeal to them initially, instead of buying from tried-and-tested trusted businesses.
But here’s the deal, businesses that paid attention to their digital marketing departments have survived the economic chaos – many have even escaped unscathed by tweaking their digital marketing strategies.
After all, as more people find themselves quarantined or practicing self-isolation, they turn to the internet for all their shopping and socialization needs. After all, it is the only practical alternative to avoiding long lines at the bank and supermarket, etc.
Online businesses have never had it so good because a functional website and a viable social presence is all they need to attract buyers.
So if there was ever a time for digital marketing, this is it. Billboards are useless, tone-deaf TV and radio adverts aren’t as effective, no one’s holding events and print is dying anyways – digital is the only way forward.
However, when marketing online, it is now more important than ever to act ethically. Do not exploit the environment of fear; instead, use this opportunity to help your customers and prospects. Show them that you support them, and they’ll reciprocate by buying from you.
Also, make the following guidelines a part of your digital marketing strategy to maximize your chances of success.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Businesses Affected by Covid-19
Here are some ways to enhance your digital marketing for improved SEO, traffic, leads, and conversion:
Work on the Context of your Content Marketing
These are extraordinary times – change your campaigns, content, and visuals to reflect the situation. This way you’ll have a better chance of meeting customer expectations.
Use the power of digital marketing to solve an issue, or teach them something new – deliver the right content, in the right context, to the right person.
So take time to learn about your audiences, use quality data to help you figure out what kind of content will appeal to them, and then do it. Make videos, animations, infographics, short stories, and all kinds of quality content to ensure that you serve the right kind of media to your audience.
Social media giants like Facebook are producing content hubs to keep users, and customers notified.
Small to medium enterprises can use create blogs and videos related to their business as a means to update their clients about the preventive steps being taken at their business.
Now is the opportunity to produce and present your customers with informational content. Encourage consumers and let them know what you’re doing to support them.
Adjust your Priorities during Uncertainties
When things get tough, it’s time to double down on your efforts. So use this opportunity to evaluate your media and ad buying budget as you shift priorities towards ideas that your consumers need to see during these trying times.
Be helpful in any way you can.
As a brand, it is your responsibility to shift your digital marketing priorities in ways that help improve the lives of not only your prospects and buyers but your employees as well. Entertain, inform, and educate them as they stay at home in isolation.
Update Your Google My Business Page
It’s crucial for local businesses to update their GMB page, particularly when “near me” or “nearby” searches are frequent.
Google has declared that Maps will reveal if a company is briefly closed. This means that if you are shutting down your business entirely; get in touch with GMB support to have your business marked as such.
However, at the same time, Google is actively advising companies to renew their Google My Business listing, if they have been influenced by COVID-19.
So if your hours have been impacted by these developments, make sure that your FMB page has the updates. It’s also a good idea to add a post on your page to explain how your business is dealing with the post-COVID-19 economy.
Concentrate on Customer Service and Reputation Management
It’s only natural for people to be uneasy and on edge during a large-scale health crisis.
Try not to feed into the negativity and keep a soft, helpful tone when addressing your audiences. For guidance, look into your brand’s vision and values and figure out the right attitude.
If you encounter particularly rude consumers, keep reminding yourself what your brand stands for. Whether you are speaking them over the phone, or via Facebook Messenger, make sure your principles set the tone on ways you can connect with them.
Above all, be human.
Robotic auto senders and chatbots won’t cut it. Put some personality into your brand communications, whether you do it by email or social media, and allow your prospects to relate to you. Remember, businesses can offer good vibes to their clients without sounding clichéd.
Reign in your Budget
Consumer behaviour is definitely about to vary a lot over the next few months, and your accounts should be ready to react to these developments.
This means cutting down on Facebook advertisements, double-checking the ROI on PPC ads, and finding other more profitable venues for digitally marketing your business. Now is the chance to turn to online advertising – every buck counts.
Spend your funds sensibly – it can have a moderate short-term impact on your sales. And, if you can manage it, spend on a long-term plan and employ digital marketing agencies for the best results.
If a particular marketing or advertising tactic works well for your business, push all your resources there. In fact, use Google Analytics to set up goals and find out where you are getting the best leads. This is the best possible way to compare the effectiveness of your paid campaigns, organic traffic, and social media profiles.
The chances are that our prospects don’t have the patience or fortitude to wait for information to fall into their laps. They’ll go online and find what they need in a matter of seconds.
This means that people are using Google more than ever. Make sure that your website content explains the topics that they are searching for, whether it’s to understand if you’re open or stocking specific products.
This makes it all the more important to have a useful FAQ page that answers all the essential questions your customers might have. Additionally, this is a good time to invest in chatbot technology for your website, as well as the Facebook page – it should help you facilitate your customers more holistically.
By having the solutions to these problems — and adding FAQ schema to your website’s pages — you get the chance to appear higher in the search engine results page (SERP), which in return, can boost your traffic and click-through-rate (CTR.)
Utilize Social Media
Make use of your social media profile to keep your buyers updated with your business.
You can design posts letting clients know if you’re open or not; if you are taking online orders or offering take out only, and how you are keeping yourself and your workers safe. Generally, just staying active online is a good idea.
Instagram has introduced a “Stay Home” sticker for Stories in a bid to support social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, profiles that use this sticker in their Stories will automatically be included in the relevant content pool.
It’s a great way to get in front of your fans during this time with valuable messaging that’s relevant to your marketing operations.
Create Online Advertisements to your Advantage
As discussed in the above points, you must let consumers know if you are still accessible during this time. If you are not getting the message across, one method to do this is by creating a Google Ads Campaign.
This is the most reliable way to influence customers who plan to order quickly.
You can also utilize the likes of Facebook Ads to influence your target viewers on social media.
As we can foresee a decrease in demand for specific products and services, now is the chance to use online promotion to make a push with interests and boost your sales team.
Of course, depending on your product or service, you will have to be careful of a possible disturbance to merchandise and delivery.
Communicate with Clients Proactively
If your business has been struck by Covid-19, either by begetting to shift your teams to operating remotely, if their account management team has changed in size due to layoffs or leaves, it’s necessary to be proactive and to communicate each with a personalized letter to notify them of any alterations to their accounts.
If your business is lucky not to have had any adjustments at this time, apart from working remotely, it would be encouraging to notify your client’s none the less and have them updated on the situation of your company as well. It’s an opportunity for confidence and collaboration for companies to work.
While personalized messaging is most helpful by email, next time you are on a call with your customers, set apart some time and join in a discussion about this subject on your meeting schedule.
Another way to notify people is on your website, so that companies, whether they are leads or existing customers, can quickly find the data that they need to know about your business during this unique time.
This can be in the form of a flag at the top of your site and through a more comprehensive evergreen landing page or a blog that you can link to in the header, too.
What will happen when things get normal?
When the lockdown is lifted, the first reaction of several will be to hop offline and do anything that they couldn’t previously – visiting friends and family, going to museums and movies, returning to cafes, restaurants, gym, religious places, gyms, and libraries.
Nevertheless, digital marketers should be conscious that many statisticians expect the recovery to be gradual, rather than a sharp rebound.
This also indicates that the marketing tactics described above that will apply to the pandemic will grow old-fashioned.
But, it is possible that for many Australians, online shopping, entertainment, communication, and other actions have become something of a practice.
Also, it could be that customers emerge from the crisis with some very particular preferences, values, and perspectives – all of which could affect how they want to use their time and money.
For these purposes, digital marketers should research how customer habits are evolving. The increase of ecommerce and the use of the internet has now been a notable feature of life and business. Still, this change may serve to stimulate that increase.
This suggests that the value of digital marketing – now crucial for small businesses that have seen regular marketing bring lower returns on investment ever – will be even higher during and later the COVID-19 crisis.
As the world moves towards digitalization, so will marketing. What marketers necessitate to do is react with renewed approaches and user personas for a diverse, post-pandemic world.
What does the road back to normal look like?
The Australian National Cabinet is finalising a three-step plan to gradually remove baseline restrictions and make Australia COVID-safe.
For each of the major areas of restrictions we have set out three key steps between where we are now and where we want to be.
Step 1 will focus on carefully reopening the economy, and giving Australians opportunities to return to work and social activities, including gatherings of up to 10 people, up to 5 visitors in the family home and some local and regional travel
Step 2 builds on this with gatherings of up to 20, and more businesses reopening, including gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues like galleries and cinemas.
Step 3 will see a transition to COVID safe ways of living and working, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted. Arrangements under step 3 will be the ‘new normal’ while the virus remains a threat. International travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.
Further details on the plan and how it affects businesses can be found here