The coronavirus pandemic is causing a lot of uncertainty for both businesses and consumers right now, with many industries seeing a fall in sales as a result. With media attention highly focused on covering COVID-19, it’s also harder for brands to get through to their audience and pushing your brand in a time when many are worried about their health and financial security can seem insensitive. As a result, one way in which brands are responding to the crisis is by cutting back on their marketing and advertising activity.
Before you cut all marketing activity completely, we speak to Sarah Holgate, Marketing Consultant to small and medium sized businesses. Find out what Sarah has to say on how to adapt your campaigns to fit the current situation, use this time to sort behind the scenes marketing – from cleaning up your analytics to planning for the year ahead.
What marketing activity can you do right now?
How you proceed during the pandemic depends largely on whether you are still able to make sales during this period.
For businesses who are unable to trade during this period, or have seen a decline in traffic and sales, now is a good time to invest in tidying up your channels, ensure you are tracking data which is aligned with your goals and improving brand awareness.
For businesses who are able to continue making sales, adapting your messaging and strategy to reflect changes in consumer needs is important for both short- and long-term brand sentiment and ROI.
In this blog, we run through ways to adapt your marketing activity effectively during the coronavirus pandemic.
Adapt your messaging
Regardless of whether you are in a position to make sales still or not, you should adapt your messaging during the pandemic. Consumers may be worried about their health, their friends and family, and their financial security, so it is important you are sensitive with your messaging. Avoid being seen as cashing in on coronavirus and using it as a hook to sell your products.
Provide value to your audience
At a time where you may be getting fewer sales than normal, identify ways you can provide value to your customers in a way that is relevant to your brand. Not only does this keep engagement high during the pandemic, but it also puts your brand in a positive light – something consumers will remember when they are ready to purchase.
Trial different platforms and content types
With so many people now stuck at home, we have seen an increase in online activity, with 70% of consumers worldwide saying they are spending more time on their smartphones than normal. For businesses who are unable to engage with their customers in ways they would traditionally do so, this is the perfect opportunity to test out different platforms and content formats to see how you can engage with your audiences.
Adapt your paid advertising
With just 8% of consumers saying that brands should stop advertising during the pandemic, and more people online now than ever, it bodes well to continue with paid advertising should consumers be able to purchase from your business right now. However, it may be necessary to adapt your messaging, strategy and budgets to avoid upsetting consumers or using budgets inefficiently.
Focus on awareness building activity
With so many consumers at home, we are seeing an upward trend in social media engagement. If you are seeing a drop in sales during the pandemic, use this time to build awareness, interest and engagement with your audience. This puts you in a strong position for when consumers return to purchasing your products.
While sales may have dropped, there are still consumers out there who are researching your product with the intent to buy – even if this isn’t an immediate intent. Defining and tracking engagement metrics which will help you understand this audience is key to making budget decisions during the pandemic. Learn more about how to define, value and measure engagement during the pandemic.
Upkeep and maintenance
Now is a good time to get around to the jobs you are usually too busy for, such as optimising content, cleaning up your social media channels and testing new landing pages. Ticking off all the jobs which get pushed back now puts your website in a stronger position for visibility and sales to help you get back on your feet.
Plan for the year ahead
Now is a great time to plan for key dates such as summer events, Black Friday and Christmas. If you have the resource available, start on these key periods now so that, when the pandemic is over and normal business resumes, they don’t get lost in the rush.
Update your content strategy
Having a data-driven content strategy is key to attracting prospects at all stages of the customer buyer journey. Use this time to analyse your data to see what content works best for your customers and use these insights to draft a killer content strategy.
Adapting your marketing during the pandemic is crucial if your business is to survive the challenging period; focusing on engaging and retaining customers in the long-term will help to bounce back once the pandemic is over and consumer confidence returns.