What You Need To Know For Marketing During The Coronavirus
There is new information and updates daily on COVID-19; the effects, how to avoid it, social distancing, and what to do if you get the virus. Local governments are making stay-at-home orders and for many businesses this creates a concern, especially for small businesses. Businesses small and large alike are asking questions like:
- How will COVID-19 affect my business?
- How do I continue marketing during coronavirus?
- Should I even continue marketing during this time?
While there is a lot of uncertainty, we can easily answer that last question with “yes, you should continue your marketing efforts” however, there are some additional things to consider. During times of crisis or concerns, some businesses first response is to pull back or stop marketing altogether meanwhile savvy businesses use this time to get ahead of the competition.
If you do want to get ahead, some things to consider are where you are marketing, how you communicate your message, and how/if you can pivot instead of pause.
Marketing Strategies During Coronavirus
Where You Should Be Marketing
Digital marketing has been on the rise for decades and one of the many reasons for the continued momentum is it serves users instantaneously and when they have demand for it. With so many people working from home on leave, digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, blogs and news sites are seeing a huge increase in visitors and engagement. In contrast, with fewer people on the roads billboards and radio ads wouldn’t yield great results.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat people use to stay connected with friends and family and for everyday entertainment. Days in quarantine mean more hours on social media. Use social media platforms to connect with your audience, offer products or services to the right people, and build brand awareness. Engaging, shareable content can extend the reach of your posts and ads targeting their needs while stuck at home can go a long way.
The Coronavirus outbreak is temporary, and even though we don’t know how long it will be until we are back to normal, you should not stop your SEO efforts. SEO takes months to see results and should be continued to stay ahead of your competition as search engines like Google make multiple updates a year. Even if your business is shutdown completely during the crisis, you should never stop your SEO or it can take months to recover the lost ground.
Google and Bing Search Ads
One of the benefits of search ads (PPC/SEM) is the campaigns and keywords you are bidding on can be updated to change your strategy quickly. In times like this when COVID-19 abruptly changes how your business serves and reaches your customers, you can adapt your existing search campaigns or create new campaigns for a crisis strategy. If normally your customers do business with you in person, you can now pivot to shopping online or offering virtual services. While we would usually recommend allowing SEM campaigns time for optimization and A/B testing, the immediate need for change dictates a faster response.
OTT/ Digital Streaming and YouTube Ads
People are stuck at home, sports have been cancelled, several TV shows have stopped production and are only showing reruns, so where do you turn for your living room, big screen entertainment? The answer is wherever you want! In the age of cord cutting, there are so many options for streaming and digital video. For more on this, visit our blog on the world of cord cutters and streaming. As for the effects of Coronavirus, you now more than ever before can reach your target audience with an impactful message. Even if you are using a video ad from months ago or you use something animated, it is a great way to reach your specific audience on the platform that they choose. In addition, on YouTube you can target by searches so when someone is shopping for a service or product or looking up a how to video, you can be present when they are at-need.
What To Say to Customers During Coronavirus
The Right Message For Your Marketing Strategy
COVID-19 has effected every person and business in one way or another, and ignoring your audience’s concern and uncertainty in your marketing is a mistake that will not go unnoticed. Every business, essential or not, should communicate what actions they are taking to help stop the spread of the virus and keep employees and customers safe. If this is offering online orders and curbside services only, or offering virtual services, or only allowing healthy staff with protective gear to work; any steps you are taking to keep people safe needs to be communicated. If a mother is shopping for her family, or someone at risk is looking for products or services, they are much more likely to buy from a company that shows they are taking safety seriously.
Another point that should be included in your marketing is setting the expectation for delivering on products or services. Orders from Amazon that used to ship in two days can now take up to a week or more. If you have had to slow operations or stop operations due to the coronavirus, clearly set the expectation for when they will receive the product or how customers can receive virtual service. It is better to be clear upfront than give a bad experience to customers that may stop buying from you in the future.
Any marketing message for engagement, lead generation, or sales should include some type of value statement. The concern from COVID-19 will make some people prioritize what is an immediate need and what is a want that can wait until we are back to normal. This will change what they find as “value”. Everyone can agree that food, medical services, financial services, and emergency home repairs are considered essential, but people will see home entertainment, refinancing mortgages, and higher education as a need during this time. Other things like home renovations and new cars people will still shop for but will wait to actually make the purchase. Change your value statement to address what people need now, and for what they want include something to make the decision easier.
For social media marketing especially, make sure you are using relevant hash tags and tie into what is trending. Multiple platforms offer ways to see what is trending and even specific hash tags to use. Utilize these in your posts to get a better lift and help reach your audience. On YouTube and blog posts, you can update tags as well for the same effect.
Pivot, Don’t Pause
How To Keep The Business Moving Through Coronavirus
We completely understand the concern and frustration for businesses caused by the Coronavirus, but when it comes down to it there are two options to choose from. Businesses can close everything, give up and wait, or businesses can take charge of the situation and pivot their strategy to create opportunity. Not every business will be able to continue servicing customers, but all businesses can take advantage of the marketing environment right now and set themselves up for success when we are back to normal. Businesses that can’t deliver on products and services now can build their brand awareness, increase their social following, or generate leads that you can work with later. Other businesses that may usually deliver products and services in person need to look at how they can pivot and adapt to shipping products or providing virtual services instead. There are many modern tools available to make virtual shopping and service easier.
Adapting to the current crisis and creating a plan to continue positions your business to get ahead of the competition, connect more people with your brand, capitalize on purchases now, and set yourself up for success after COVID-19. Now is not the time to stop marketing efforts, it is the time to reach your desired audience and strategically plan to grow your business. We are seeing a huge improvement across the board for all digital marketing campaigns and hope businesses take advantage of this. If you need help, or are nervous to start, reach out to us. This is what we do.