Depending on your industry, you might have noticed your sales and revenue plummet in recent times, thanks to the Coronavirus. Some sectors have seen an almost total cessation of activity and have had to innovate to survive.
This has made marketing more critical than ever for many businesses. Much of this marketing needs to be online, with the cost of traditional advertising, particularly television, prohibitive for many companies currently. Of course, there is another excellent reason to push your marketing focus online in the present. People are spending more time at home (either willingly or because of restrictions on movement) and are going onto the internet more frequently.
Here are some marketing ideas you can consider in this time of the Coronavirus.
Marketing Ideas and Tips during the Coronavirus:
- 1. Don’t Make Knee Jerk Reactions Out of Panic
- 2. Keep Connected with Your Customers on Social Media
- 3. Take Any Opportunities That Arise to Help People in the Crisis
- 4. Improve Your Online Presence
- 5. Improve Your Site’s SEO
- 6. Use PPC Advertising
- 7. Adapt Your Offers to the Circumstances
- 8. Keep Nimble and Adjust to Meet Customer Needs
- 9. Keep on Top of Your Marketing Metrics
- 10. If Forced into Lockdown Plan Your Future Marketing
1. Don’t Make Knee Jerk Reactions Out of Panic
Yes, times are tight at the moment. Trade may have plummeted for your business. You may even not be trading at all for reasons beyond your control. But things will get better. China has shown that coronavirus cases reach a peak and then start to fall. They have lifted lockouts, and workers have returned to work. They have even begun to export and import again, although international travel will be slow until the Coronavirus vaccine is developed and made widely available. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
That isn’t to say you should underestimate the terrible effects of Coronavirus. They are real. Many people worldwide are catching the virus, with numbers increasing at an exponential rate, and some of them dying. And you may have to cease trading for a while. You may need some assistance, and this will differ from country to country. But you shouldn’t make knee jerk decisions out of panic. Most businesses will survive the chaos, just as they have through wartime, recessions, depressions, and pandemics in the past. You don't want to find that while you shut up shop through panic, your competition rode the waves and was ready for the revival.
Even if your income dries up and you need to claim any government assistance available in your country or region, you should keep some digital marketing going. It will keep your business name visible and in people's minds for when customers decide to return.
2. Keep Connected with Your Customers on Social Media
People use their social media accounts more than ever during hard times. This is particularly the case if they are scared or uncertain about what is going on around them. If you live somewhere in lockdown, then social media will be one of the most significant forms of communication.
Internet usage has increased dramatically over the last month. While part of this is people turning to Netflix and the other streaming networks when locked-down, much it is for communication purposes. And social media is now a preferred form of communication for most people.
Sure, people may not be thinking about being close to their hairdresser or taking their car in for a service. They may not be allowed to order a takeaway or go to a bar. But they will still be interested in you. They will take particular notice of useful, engaging content you may share, and are likely to remember your name, even if they have never used your services previously.
3. Take Any Opportunities That Arise to Help People in the Crisis
The best form of marketing is always when you create goodwill. People remember the good thing your business does.
If you can help people get through this time, do so. For example, in New Zealand, several breweries and distilleries have changed over some of their production lines to making hand sanitizers. "We had our whiskey and gin program going for a while, and we thought the world needs hand sanitizer more than it needs gin and whiskey right at the moment," said co-founder of Good George brewery, Brian Watson.
Also, both dairy giant Fonterra and fuel company, Gull Service Stations, have donated high-quality ethanol to help with the hand sanitizer shortage.
Marketing may not have been foremost in the minds of these companies (or other companies making similar decisions around the globe). Still, people will remember their actions when they start to spend money again in the future.
4. Improve Your Online Presence
More people are online than ever now. They are also becoming warier of personal interactions. But that doesn't mean that they have lost interest in the businesses around them. In some cases, enforced time alone has given people more opportunities to make Google searches and research potential items to buy.
Quite a few firms devote part of their marketing budget to trade shows, exhibitions, and events. Yet many of these are now canceled, and fewer people are interested in face-to-face meetings. This is particularly the case for B2B companies. Figures released by data intelligence company PredictHQ, show that in February there was a 500% surge in cancellations and postponements of significant events.
You might need to alter your website to reflect current demand better. For instance, if you run a broad sales mix of stock categories, you might want to emphasize your food and home essentials products over more luxury items. In some cases, where government restrictions limit what you are permitted to sell, you might need to alter your website to remove any prohibited items temporarily.
However, remember that digital marketing has one significant benefit over most other types of marketing. It doesn't require any face-to-face interaction. It is also one of the more measurable types of marketing, making it easy to set clear ROI goals.
5. Improve Your Site’s SEO
It’s all very well having an improved digital presence, but that is worth little if people can't find their way to your website. Any business with a website needs to operate good search engine optimization (SEO) principles, if they don’t want to end up lost amongst the competition.
Google and the other search companies continually change their search engine algorithms, so you need to ensure that your site frequently changes to keep up with the trends. Good copywriters and content marketers know how to write their content with SEO in mind. Likewise, your developers should be able to ensure that your site operates in such a way to make it easy for the search engines.
The aim of proper SEO is that when your potential customers search for keyword terms critical to your industry, your website posts and pages come up near the top of the search results, preferably in the first few positions. There is much competition for these slots, meaning you aim to have better SEO than others in your sector.
At the moment, your competitors may be too busy trying to survive than think about the quality of their websites. Exceptional SEO gives you an excellent opportunity to be first off the mark when things recover.
This applies even to those firms in industries most affected by the Coronavirus. As long as you have internet access, you can easily work on your SEO from home. And even if your business has to go into hiatus, good SEO will make it much simpler for you to rebuild.
6. Use PPC Advertising
It probably depends on your industry, but now could be the perfect time to increase your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. More people than ever are on the internet, giving a greater chance for your ads to appear before relevant pairs of eyes. This can give you a tremendous competitive advantage.
Of course, you will want to balance this against the possibility that few of your customers may be in a position to use your services. There is little point travel agents using their cash flow for paid PPC advertising at the moment – there are few if any people likely to click on their ads with a genuine aim of buying international travel.
However, this is an excellent time for firms wanting to stand out from their competitors in specific sectors, however. For instance, with so many people isolated at home, sales of software useful for home offices will be skyrocketing. And if firms can deliver these digitally, there is no concern about them being caught up in distribution hold-ups. Some products have rapidly jumped up the best-seller lists. According to The Mercury News, products to gain prominence in March 2020 include obvious ones like toilet paper and face masks, infrared digital thermometers, cloth diapers, exercise clothes, and laptop desks.
7. Adapt Your Offers to the Circumstances
Have you noticed all those television ads of late that seem irrelevant to the current situation? Television networks have even still been running ads for travel agencies, suggesting you should take time out now to travel the globe. You will also see numerous ads imploring you to go on a consumer spending spree, enjoy Spring Break, and save on brands of toilet paper, long since sold out to panic buyers.
Presumably, these ads are more an indication of the long lead times in the television advertising industry, rather than any genuine belief by those firms advertising that the viewer will suddenly buy their products at the moment (particularly so, if you are in a country experiencing lockdown).
Successful marketers move quickly and adapt to the circumstances. There is little point continuing your marketing as normal if consumers are unable or unwilling to buy your usual products at the moment.
8. Keep Nimble and Adjust to Meet Customer Needs
This connects with the previous point. You need to be nimble and adjust to your customer needs.
Ford is providing an example of this at the moment. There is probably a much-reduced demand for new cars at the moment. In some countries and regions, there will be zero sales. So Ford had realized that they could repurpose some of their 3D printers into printing much-needed respirators. Ford has joined forces with 3M and GE Healthcare to quickly expand the production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers. They plan to assemble more than 100,000 face shields per week.
Smaller businesses may have to modify their operations for the situation. If you run a fast food store in an area not yet locked down, you might have to consider temporarily closing down your in-store dining facilities and ramping up your takeaways. If you are a gym that has to close its doors for a while, you might want to make some videos of exercise routines your clients can do at home, uploading them every day to YouTube.
9. Keep on Top of Your Marketing Metrics
It is more important than ever now to keep a close eye on your marketing data. Take notice of what works and do more of that. If previously successful marketing currently lacks impact, it has become irrelevant; reduce or stop that type of marketing for a while.
This should, of course, be your everyday philosophy. Examine the data; see trends; make changes as required.
It is relatively simple to determine the ROI of digital marketing activities. You just need to identify a specific marketing goal for each campaign and decide the relevant metric to measure.
10. If Forced into Lockdown Plan Your Future Marketing
If you are in lockdown, you probably have more time on your hands than you are used to. Just because you may feel stuck at home, doesn't mean that you can't plan for things once the Coronavirus crisis comes to an end.
Many marketers complain that they are always busy and haven't got the time to do such things as analyze their website performance and check on their SEO. Well, if you are in lockdown, you have plenty of time now.
Now is an ideal time to plan your future marketing and how you will get yourself back up and operational gain. Depending on your situation, you may have to plan your marketing rebirth on a shoestring budget, but digital marketing doesn’t have to be overly expensive. This is one of the reasons that you still need to keep your website up-to-date and keep on updating your social pages. If they still exist, you won't have to spend time rebuilding them from scratch when the world comes back to life again.
As well as spending the time to check the current performance of your website and existing marketing, making appropriate changes as needed, you could also begin to plan out your recovery content. Sketch out your future campaigns, create content, write scripts for videos, and anything else that you can do by yourself without being in your full work setting.