The fact is beyond doubt, that the world is fighting with a very powerful, but faceless enemy called Covid-19. But the need of the hour is to keep our spirits high. Governments have been taking the basic protective actions for the businesses and employees. Staying home, maintaining social distance and personal hygiene are some of the very basic precautions which are required to be followed in present times.
The situation is beyond anyone’s control yet we need to take care of what could be. It has spread out like a swamp and has engulfed the social, economical and technological aspects of life.This global lockdown is posing daunting challenges not only to the small and medium businesses but also to big brands and established enterprises.
You, being a business owner, might find yourself in a lost world where nothing can be predicted. You might be looking for the answers for questions like:
What should I be doing for my business amid Covid-19?
Should I be even making any efforts for my business in these times?
The answer to this question is undoubtedly YES. There would be two types of businesses. One who would feel victimised, eager to pull out all their marketing efforts,and just wait for things to get back to normal. And the others would not give up and rather gear up, strive for their business and customers in these testing times with a hope to revive soon.
Which one of the above categories do you fit in? If you are among the smarter lot, it’s high time for you to assess, analyze and execute what is worth doing in this time of crisis. This brings in the elevated significance of your marketing teams and reassessment of your planned campaigns.
Unless you deal in the essential goods category, we bring you some marketing guidelines to follow and get your business atop your competition. Let’s get started:
With the global lockdown inplace, people are accessing the internet and using their social media accounts more than ever before. The reasons behind might relate to their concerns on uncertainty prevailing around them or just to stay occupied while they are at home.
As per the figures from January 2020, social media penetration (users vs total population) has been recorded at 49%. While the annual growth of social media users has increased by 9.2%. These statistics clearly show that the internet usage has soared drastically since the beginning of the year 2020.
Social Media, hence, has evolved as a preferred mode of communication in the past few months. So here comes your role as a responsible and sensible business owner to get social with your users via the media. It means to get engaging with your existing and prospect customers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn are becoming platforms to review, discuss and exchange views for your business.
All you need to do is create a plan to reach out to your customers on all these social media channels. By doing so you would be able to know what your customers are talking about your business, and even learn more about your market. Touching every point of the social media funnel is surely going to help you post-lockdown times.
What you need to remember while taking up this course of action is that your intent is not to advertise, but to contribute. Your efforts should be to get on conversations with your customers and put up something relevant and valuable to the situation.
As you are aware of the fact now that people are using internet and social media platforms more than ever. Unlike other businesses who prefer to stop their advertising efforts in these times of uncertainty, you need to act smart.
As a blessing in disguise, this enforced time has given many people the opportunity to search Google related to their wishlists. What if they can’t buy right now, they are doing research on things which they want to buy. So, it’s the right time for you to make your business’ online presence felt and visible.
Don’t think about why to advertise when no one is buying. Because as soon as the normalcy of life resumes, whom do you think they will buy from? From a business which has been regularly visible to them, has addressed their concerns during hard times or the one which pops up all of sudden? The answer is surely the one which has been persistent in establishing rapport with its customers. Your presence on social media and Google keeps your endeavours relevant, shows you on top of the charts and secures an edge over your competitors.
Is it possible for your prospect customers to find you on the web with just the knowledge of your product or the service you provide? If no, then SEO is the answer.
SEO is simply the technique which helps customers find your website. Your increased advertising budget wouldn’t help your business if they can’t trace back to you and end up buying from your competitor. Moreover, with continuous changes in Google’s and other major search engine’s algorithms, your hard earned rank might fall off the grid in absence of any SEO efforts.
To keep the hold tight, you need to ensure that your website is updated with trends. Creating good and relevant content, using keywords significant to your industry, makes it easy for search engines to list you near the top. At these times when your competitors are busy winding up and pulling back their campaigns and SEO initiatives, you can take your chances.
You have the time and the opportunity to work on your site’s SEO and grab the top ranks at a faster pace. Exceptional SEO not only helps you appear on top but also makes it easier for you to revive and rebuild your business after this glitch.
Big brands and companies have been witnessed cancelling on their conferences and announcements and even suspending their marketing campaigns in the wake of Covid-19. Hershey’s, and KFC have pulled their ad campaigns depicting hugs and handshakes and finger-licking. Reported for being inappropriate in these times when personal hygiene and maintaining social distance are being highly emphasised.
The need of the hour is to act and respond with empathy and sensibility. The world you live in is not an alien land. It needs to know that you care for their concerns and there for them in tough times.
Re-consider your social media posts, re-evaluate your marketing campaigns, reassess your digital advertising if they are not in harmony with the prevailing times. If you own a business which can somehow serve in healthcare, environmental services, online learning or anything which is essential midst this crisis, we suggest you redirect your efforts.
You need to observe the trends, analyze the prospects and channelize your venture to deliver the right message and context to help the prospects.
What are you doing for your employees? How are you keeping the public safe (if you are still operating)? What is your refund policy for widespread cancellations?
Absence of any communication might lead to miscommunication. Unless you don’t come up and handle all these concerns of your customers, you won’t be helping your business but hurting it. Your Crisis communication should address customer queries, employee concerns and if you are a brand then might have to take up the media inquiries as well.
You need to create and share the message on every channel which offers you customer exposure. Be it your website, blog, social media channels or through your email subscriber’s list, you need to tell your customers If you could do something differently?
If nothing more than just allowing your team to work from home safely, you need to tell your customers that you are still up and working. It would surely be appreciated and acknowledged by your customers and readers beyond your industry.
Economic depressions, natural disasters, crisis or tragedies affect every business. As fear and anxiety prevails in society, you need to take specific measures to keep a check that your communication to the customers does not spread panic rather come up for help.
One of the brands pioneering in this context is Ford. Observing the almost no-demand for new cars during the crisis, they initiated in repurposing their machinery and facilities to contribute in manufacturing medical equipment and other healthcare essentials.
Another exemplary instance is that of breweries in New Zealand who have changed their line of production and started making hand sanitizers. Observing the lack of availability while being the necessity in fighting Covid-19, they made this well-applauded decision.
Marketing in times of crisis becomes difficult, but all you need to do is proceed with empathy. Sense the state of mind of your customer, consider the tips and while keeping informed, brief them about how your business is dealing with the crisis. Honest confessions, informed decisions, and sincere efforts shared with your customers lets them in and witness how you are making and helping them get through this crisis.
Just like in case you are a restaurant which does not fall in the lockdown area, rather than capitalising the fact that your competitors are shut, you should encourage takeaways. If you own a gym, shoot some home workout videos and post them on Youtube so that they can continue with their exercising routine safely.
Uncertainty of lockdown, resumption of business in routine, overcoming Coronavirus is all haunting the global economies. There are a number of powerful brands and business houses who can manage to create campaigns for any moment. Ford, for example, has intuitively swapped their vehicles ad with the one showcasing their Coronavirus response and declaring help to their Ford Credit customers.
Well things might not be this easy for small and medium businesses. What you can do is utilize the time during this lockdown. First you need to consider the relevance and context of the pre-scheduled content. Determine what campaigns should be focussed and what should be lapsed.
Marketing during covid-19 is challenging yet worth doing. Take this time to analyze your website performance, check on SEO, update your social media and your marketing campaigns post-pandemic and focus on your recovery content. The lockdown will end soon, the situation will be under control, so your business needs to be ready when the world resumes normalcy.
Adhering to pay-per-click advertising purely depends on the industry you are in. If your business is the one which is relevant in this crisis, then it’s the right time for you to increase your PPC advertising budget.
How so? With more people accessing the internet, your chances of appearing before the potential buyers increase. Continuing to spend on your PPC advertising during this time will give you leverage over your competitors.
Sales for home essentials, personal hygiene products, reusable masks and softwares for home offices have surely skyrocketed. But due to change in routines and circumstances if you are into business dealing in infrared as well as normal thermometers, home gym equipment, exercise outfits, laptop desks and even educational software packages for students have seen a sudden hike.
You can simply resort to PPC advertising, make yourself appear in front of the right pair of eyes.
With latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence, now is the best time to incorporate the same in your business.It gives your business the competitive advantage and access to prospective clients at the right time.
You might have witnessed the role of Artificial Intelligence in product/content recommendation as done by Amazon, Netflix and Spotify and even as a chatbot on many websites.
But are you aware of the many other excellent activities it can do for you? It can help you understand your customers in context of what, how and when of their needs. Relieving you of an extra burden of finding what exactly your customer wants.
With programmatic ad targeting AI targets specific customers matching your provided criteria. Facebook ads are a perfect example, as they allow you to create custom profiles to target and retarget your ads.
Content generation and content intelligence is something which AI has evolved as groundbreaking technology. Stock updates, sports news and financial reports, artificial intelligence can help you create similar simple stories and cut down your effort when you do not have a full team backup.
With Content Intelligence, AI provides you data-driven feedback and other insights which may help your content creators to write more effective content. Dynamic pricing, intelligent email content creation, highly personalized website experience and more can help you create a winning digital strategy.
Implementing Artificial Intelligence with all its latest developments will not only help you reach out to the qualified leads but also reduce the cost of acquisition of every new client. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will help you deliver the right message to the right person at the right time and cut down waste drastically.
Although it is natural to think that marketing is unusually difficult in these times, yet we would strongly suggest that now is not the time to stop Do Not stop your marketing efforts during Covid-19 times. Although the pandemic has put the fast moving life on halt, yet you should continue reviewing and evaluating your current and future marketing aim.
Get more strategic, utilize this time to create content and scripts for videos, sketch out your future campaigns, assess your website performance and do everything you can do while staying at home safe.