As COVID-19 concerns escalate and uncertainty becomes a defining characteristic of the modern era, you may be wondering how you can shift your marketing strategy to be current and reflective of today’s constraints.
It’s not a time to scale back on marketing efforts — in fact, with more people at home and on their digital devices, digital marketing is still as important as ever. Now is the time to be communicative with your customers and work to alleviate their concerns, address their evolving needs, and be a trusted resource to them. While you always want to be genuinely empathetic and sensitive to your clients and take great care to not come off as opportunistic, there are a few key ways you can shift your marketing strategy in the time of coronavirus that will help position your business for success. I’ve outlined a few tips below:
Focus on social media
It’s not unlikely that people will be spending more time on their social media channels in the current circumstances. Use this time to get in front of as many people as possible with your social media channels — especially Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but also any additional ones that may be relevant to your business (Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, for example). Below are some key strategies to employ:
- Use social listening tools and tactics to get a sense of what your clients and your target market are talking about and what situations they’re currently facing. Think about where you can provide value, and how you can better address their current needs. Engage in conversations via social media with members of your target market where appropriate.
- Post frequently. Organic social media is a no- to low-cost way of keeping your business at the forefront of peoples’ minds, and while people may not be making purchasing decisions as frequently right now, you want to do what you can to stay top of mind in the long-term. Of course, don’t simply post for the sake of posting — share valuable, on-brand content that’s relevant to some of the struggles and new circumstances they may be confronting in the current climate. Additionally, don’t forget to use hashtags, @ tags, and more where appropriate to ensure you’re getting in front of as many people as possible.
Invest in SEO strategies
Don’t make the mistake of dropping the ball on SEO. In the coming months, if concerns around coronavirus lessen and the market starts to stabilize, you don’t want to find yourself behind because you halted crucial SEO campaigns. SEO is a long-term, strategic play; it takes time to improve your rankings, which means you don’t want to react with a short-term mentality.
Additionally, if your company sells goods or services locally, you may want to look into further optimizing your local SEO. As people are staying inside and not venturing far from their homes, it is now a good time to make sure you’re getting in front of everybody in close proximity to your business, if you haven’t already.
Share any special offers or information
Many companies are currently offering their customers sizable discounts on goods and services as a way to help alleviate distress and to provide value during this stressful time. For example, a variety of restaurants are offering free delivery to takeaway customers, and companies like Adobe and Loom are giving complimentary access to their software. Several online classes, from coding to fitness, are now being offered for free as well.
For businesses that can afford to do this, it’s a smart brand play — it shows the consumer that your business is highly customer-centric and unequivocally concerned with providing value. If your company is offering any discounts or promotions to clients, make sure you are disseminating this information across the correct channels — email, PPC, and social media, to name a key few.
However, if your company is not in a position to offer such discounts, all is not lost. Your company may choose to still share communications around how you’re positioned to help your clients in this time — whatever that may mean for your business.
Take care, however, not to mass email your clients simply because other businesses are doing so; you risk coming off as insincere. In the early stages of the pandemic, consumers received a barrage of emails from companies who were all looking to position themselves as present and reactive in a time of crisis — perhaps, in some cases, without stopping to think about whether their communications were truly necessary or valuable. Take a step back and really evaluate what your clients care about, whether you have information to share that addresses their concerns and needs, and what medium would be most appropriate for communicating with them.
Focus on retention
Acquiring new business is likely going to be more difficult for your business during this period. This is the right time to leverage relationships with existing clients, with the goal of maximizing retention. Again, where appropriate, send thoughtful email communication to your client base informing them of any relevant business updates, or letting them know how you are positioned to help them in this time. You may want to work with your account management team here to see which clients may benefit from marketing communications, and which clients may require a more personalized outreach.
Above all, it is crucial that you, as a marketer, remain agile during the time of coronavirus. The situation is constantly evolving, and you should prepare yourself for any sudden shifts that require repeated changes in your brand messaging, in your communications, and in your overall marketing strategy — if not, you risk pouring money into initiatives that are not doing anything for your business.
This doesn’t mean you should be making panicked calls upon hearing novel information. Rather, you should be continuously monitoring your data to get an understanding of how your marketing initiatives are performing and being received during this period, and be prepared to iterate in real-time and shift spend where needed. Improving your ability to be responsive and data-driven will not only serve you and your team in this time, but in the long-term as well.