The economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic is pushing businesses to take a second look at how they can keep up and thrive with the current situation. It’s no longer ‘business as usual’, with quarantine and social distancing, a lot of adjustments are being made.
Now, what should you do so that your marketing strategy can thrive through the storm and come out of it stronger?
1. Be ready for anything
Develop multiple distribution networks and test where your products market the best. People are shopping in more locations now, so it’s best to keep in mind to be present where they are.
Anything can happen and trends can rise and fall. Even if a solid marketing strategy is already set in place for the year, something like a pandemic can easily halt these plans leading you back to the drawing board.
Multichannel distribution will allow you to connect with customers online and offline. This is helpful no matter the state of the economy because it makes your products and services available to the customers in more places than one.
- You target more customers.
- Increased customer loyalty.
- Eliminates reliance on a single channel.
- Exposing products and services to new markets.
2. Know your target market’s psychographic data
During uncertain times – especially in cases like a pandemic where the impact is on a global spectrum – everybody’s decision-making process shifts and tends to be more emotional or irrational than before.
You need to keep this in mind since the framework of your marketing strategy depends on your target audience. This goes beyond choosing the demographic and delves deeper into the psychographics.
Psychographics are people's attitude, lifestyle, personalities, and values. Pay attention to the psychographics of your target market during these times so you can position your products and services in a way that can cater and help their needs. This will also make it easier for you to create content that’s both useful and engaging for them.
3. Make a six-month-long budget plan for marketing
Set your marketing plan for the next six-months and include the allotted budget. This will let you know which are possible to implement and which are not necessary at the moment. Ask yourself what your goals are and if the marketing channel you choose will lead you to that goal. If so, does it fit your budget and will it be enough to finance you through the next six months.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Online engagement is at an all-time high right now than ever before. With the quarantine in-effect, most people are driven to go and interact online. The opportunity is now internet-based for a majority of businesses which means you have to increase your visibility and drive this traffic to your website to increase sales.
When it comes to online marketing, Google holds the majority of searches. When a person needs information, queries are typed into Google and search results are generated. The goal here is to rank high on the search engine results pages when your target audience types in a query or a keyword relating to your brand, product, or service. This is what search engine optimisation or SEO is for.
SEO is the art and process of driving organic traffic to your website by increasing your visibility in search engines. Study shows that the first five organic search results account for 67.6 percent of all clicks – this is just on the first page alone. The aim is to be in that section of the first page.
On-page SEO involves efforts happening directly to your website. This involves targeting the right keywords, optimising titles, headlines, meta tags, and other factors that are happening in your website.
- Modify your content in a way that it aligns with how queries are being made by users. Before, Google used to be ‘keyword’ centric. Now, the algorithm is designed to understand with near human-level accuracy. This means more focus should be put on long-tail keywords. For example, if you’re in the shoe business, instead of focusing on ‘shoes’ as the keyword, make it ‘brown leather shoes in Manchester’ or ‘Where to find the best shoe store in Manchester’.
- Improve your page speed. Page speed plays an important part in keeping your potential client engaged. What you don’t want to happen is for them to bounce from your website just because the page loaded a second later than they’re willing to wait. For starters, upload smaller files if you’re including images in your posts. There are more technical ways like changing servers for certain pages and activating features that make it easier for Google bots to crawl a site more effectively. If you have yet to be savvy with SEO there are professionals who can provide you with complete SEO services from agencies like Axadra or give you advice on what you need to do to optimise your website for a more fluid user experience.
Off-page SEO involves efforts happening externally or made offsite to attract more traffic leading to your site.
- Create a blog with high-quality content. This will allow you to participate in forums that are relevant to your business and share your content with people who are interested in your industry. This way, they will be aware of your brand and what you offer. Keep your blog alive and post relevant content, this is how you earn great backlinks.
- Boost your online presence with Google My Business. GMB will be a critical part of your online marketing strategy in this quarantine period. Most people won’t be able to go too far from their homes and will be searching for stores and shops near where they live. Of course, they won’t have time to (nor will they be allowed) walk around and look for the store they need. They will most likely be searching the internet first and this is why you should utilise Google My Business. It’s your local calling card. Provide the necessary information that your customer might need and build up the reviews for credibility.
Familiarising yourself with these methods will gain you immense competitive advantage allowing you to properly strategise depending on your location, industry, and target audience.
5. Identify which internet marketing efforts you’re going to focus on
While some businesses feel like cutting down on their marketing, what you should be doing is: Market.
This is an opportunity because the competition is low or not very active. Pinpoint the channels where you know your leads are and provide them with information about your brand, products, and services.
Email marketing will always be an effective way of connecting with your existing customers and finding new ones. This strategy has a higher engagement rate as your emails will reach around 85% of your target recipients. See this as a way for you to remain on top of your customers’ minds.
- Update your existing customers
- Survey your customers
- Conduct A/B tests
- Explore new email tools that can help boost your marketing efforts.
- Reach out to new clients
Social Media Marketing
There’s an estimate of 2.77 billion people on social media right now and it’s more essential for any business to maintain a presence on multiple social channels. From Facebook, to Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter and Youtube, people are spending more time on social media than ever before. If you search twitter with the hashtag screentime, you’ll see posts with people’s screentime shooting up to 185% during quarantine period.
When doing social media marketing, be mindful and sensitive of your social media posts during this quarantine period. Even people from the same demographic can feel different ways about a particular topic so review everything that you’re going to be putting out there and get a second opinion before hitting that ‘post’ button.
Unlike organic traffic where the people who tend to land on your website intentionally searched for you, PPC is a strategy that works well if used in a timely manner. It’s a great strategy for retargeting customers, this way, they promote products or services based on a customers’ browsing history.
Tips to manage your paid advertising during quarantine period:
- Pinpoint the product or service that you want to advertise. Qualify if your product or services are in-demand right now. Ask if it’s something your target audience needs. Is it essential to your customers?
- Create a strong CTA and be sensitive to the image that you’re going to use. Remember that more people are extremely emotional during this period of social distancing so keep in mind images that can trigger bad responses from your audience.
- Consider the channels that will be more beneficial to your business. Don’t just go with the trend, but verify if the trend also works for your industry. As people consume more content, pinpoint the channels where people in your industry go for content and then display banner ads there.
6. Modify your content with both the situation, audience and SEO in mind
When writing content for an online audience, most find it challenging to find the balance between resonating with the readers and also writing content that search engines can effectively deem as valuable.
While search engines are looking for keywords, readability, and matching your content to the user’s search intent, your target market is looking for substance and value. To balance both is a constant struggle for content writers because the gap between human understanding and AI still exists. This is the reason why search engines, especially Google, are frequently updating their algorithms.
No matter what content marketing strategy you choose — may it be blog posts, videos, webinars, case studies or ebooks — you have to choose a topic that’s relevant to your business and your niche.
Just keep these things in mind while creating your content:
- Ensure that it’s accurate. Before you put content out there, make sure that you have researched well and have it checked by experts. Have it proofread to avoid grammatical errors as this can lessen the credibility of your content.
- Be sensitive. This is a season where people are more likely to be sensitive and can take things too personally. It’s best to stir away from jokes or humor, if you are going in that direction then review that it’s positive and helpful. Stir clear from trigger-inducing words like: “virus”, “contagious” or “infectious” to name a few.
Now is the time to be savvy with your internet marketing, pay attention to your online presence, even implement SEO and if the roadblock is you not being an expert, get a SEO professional to do it for you or work with a digital marketing agency that offers great packages during these times. This strategy will not only help you out during economic setbacks, it will shine brighter once the economy bounces back. You’ll be there watching it flourish more after the market recovers.
Next Up: 10 Marketing Plan Components Your Business Needs During COVID-19