So, in business there are recessions, there are booms and there are pandemics, but is there ever a bad time to invest in your Digital Marketing? No. Your brand should be actively marketing throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, economic downturn and eventual restoration of the “new normal”.
Highstreets were referred to as desolate, the use of the word “furlough” hit unprecedented highs, and business diversification has never meant more. It seems the world changed completely overnight.
As 2020, 2.0, unfolds, the true impact on our economy is unravelling, and many businesses are feeling the effects. Redundancies, scaling back, diversification and even closures.
Where digital marketing is concerned, in recent surveys, more than 90% of businesses reported a detrimental impact upon their day to day business and as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak would be cutting back on their marketing spending. And according to recent research only 14% of businesses will go ahead with campaigns as planned.
Cutting back on your marketing spend is not our recommended method to save money however; allocating your marketing resources more efficiently will save money whilst increasing revenue.
Being sensitive to the current pandemic and economic downturn with your marketing strategies is obviously paramount, you don’t want your efforts to be counter-productive! Ensuring your messaging is supportive of charitable organisations, small local businesses, the local and national government efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, and of course the NHS, while staying true to YOUR brand values is the key.
Now is the time to collect customer data to better target your brand messaging and marketing efforts. Ironically though, media planning, paid search and SEO have been the digital marketing areas that have suffered most.
The resounding importance for the Coronavirus pandemic is without doubt the health of the population, but there are many more people affected in addition to the ill. By acknowledging the issues this situation is having on your client base (both existing and prospective) you’ll be establishing a shared narrative, enhancing the trust in your brand.
Although we may be becoming more cautious with our personal interactions, we haven’t lost interest in the businesses around us. In fact, in many cases, it’s given consumers the opportunity to delve deeper into the values and services of businesses on their doorstep.
With more time comes more intent; individuals are focusing their efforts on the local, independent companies around them, looking to support those in need. On Pinterest alone, there has been a 400% increase in ‘ways to support a small business’ searches, confirming there is a whole new market out there to engage with.
Small businesses across the country have shown their ability to adapt and evolve during the Coronavirus outbreak, and this adaptability has not only kept them going but supported local communities and charities too, in turn increasing the brand awareness. The surge in support for these small businesses, and the focus on their versatility, is creating quite the ‘buzz’ on social media. It’s hard to miss the gratitude and appreciation for those who have adapted to help others the best way they know how.
Coupled with this need to ‘stay local’ has also been the upsurge in eCommerce sales, with Europe seeing an increase of 35% of installations of eCommerce apps during th height of the pandemic and a 25% increase in time spent in app sessions.
Placing your brand in line with these messages and on the right platforms will be the key to survival in the long term.
What’s your brand message?
Whilst being reminded about the virus constantly can create a feeling of bombardment, it is a mistake to avoid the COVID-19 topic altogether. Mentioning it isn’t charging the fear, it’s helping people to feel connected to the brand, demonstrating that you know and understand their situation.
Those brands who can empathise with the consumer during, and after, the pandemic will undoubtedly be more successful. It’s essential that you get the tone and message on point. Effective marketing means always being willing to adapt and change with the circumstances, rolling with the industry punches if you will.
Make your offers relevant to what your target market is going through right here right now. What will they need moving forward, and what are they most likely to want to spend their money on?
It’s also a good idea to remove anything from previous content or website copy that may come across as insensitive.
Social Media Marketing
Our new socially distant way of life means that the country is spending more time within the confines of their own homes, whether furloughed, working from home, home educating, or simply being cautious. Consequently, people have been embracing social media with an unprecedented rise in screen time, an increase of 25% in engagement on Instagram in April 2020 alone.
Work smarter, not harder! If you’ve had to delay a product launch, pause or even recreate your content plan, don’t be afraid to amend and repurpose previous content to continue your online presence. Conjuring up fresh ideas during unchartered waters can be tough at a moments notice. Using what you already have as a starting point is perfectly okay; you’ve invested time, effort and money into your content, gaining value from it time and time again is recommended. Try updating the language and focal points showing its current relevance, implementing a sense of community in your older posts.
Content created before the pandemic may not now be as relevant, but it might come back into focus a few months down the line. So instead of throwing it out entirely, stash it away for later, you’ll thank yourself when the time comes and you can pull it out of the bag with a few tweaks.
Now with the reinstatement of restrictions in pockets of the UK is the ideal time to actively dig into your audience's conversations; spend time as a live user, instead of scheduling in advance? Post within platform, interact with what’s going on in your community right here right now, be present. Using your intuitive social listening skills to then direct your content throughout this fast moving and ever changing situation, enables you to tailor your message to fit that moment in time.
Something to consider for your current social media marketing strategy is relevant timing. Life isn’t as we once knew it; many of us are still not commuting, clocking in at 9am and clocking out at 5pm, our daily routines have been reworked. It’s worth considering that your potential audience is online at different times and for longer periods.
To establish when this is, test out upcoming posts with various times of the day. Traditional posting tools and scheduling algorithms have yet to catch up with this ‘new normal’, so taking the time to listen to the mood of your audience allows you to post when it’s most likely to be seen and be the most interacted with.
Keeping one eye on your competitors is always a good idea, by monitoring which channels they’re pushing their marketing efforts through you can assess how you will push your own. You certainly don’t want to simply copy everyone else, but to some extent you need to be aware of what seems to be performing well and on what platform.
With the enforced isolation we saw during the beginning of the pandemic and the subsequent lack of ‘normalcy’, more people than ever are on the internet, and for longer. Although this could be fantastic for brand awareness, the unpredictable nature of the ongoing situation and post-Corona income led to a reduction in online spending during the first half of 2020 but with, stalwarts of the highstreet and online giants like Next and Amazon predicting and upsurge for the final quarter (especially in online sales) of 2020 a knee jerk reaction and cancelling marketing efforts looks to be a long-term mistake. For those who are continuing with their campaigns, the average Pay Per Click cost has dropped by over 50% across the board, which means they’re enjoying leads at significantly lower costs than before. A tremendous competitive advantage. Big winners in this sector are charity organisations, nonprofits and health and medical businesses.
If you’re an online business, or a business with an online offering, now could be the perfect time to increase your Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
So, rather than pausing your campaigns altogether, an amended strategy, taking advantage of this lower cost, would be to reduce your spending, yet attain more effective bang for your buck by allocating it wisely.
Generally speaking, this is an excellent opportunity to stand out from your competitors, and spending the time now working on your long-term strategy will pay dividends later.
Utilising the ‘Overview’ section of your Google Ads dashboard, you can see a Day & Hour chart, which you can adjust to see when you tend to get the most conversions. By honing in on the top 2-3 days and times, then either excluding the other days or reducing the bids so you still appear, your campaign spend will be more cost effective giving you a better return on investment.
One of the most valuable pieces of information when considering your Pay Per Click budget is the performance of your keywords. By interrogating how much you have been paying for your clicks, compared to what the market rates are, you can determine where the smart spending lies. Narrow down which keywords/phrases are forming lower cost conversions as opposed to those that are costing you more, then amend accordingly.
With the nation beginning to ramping up their business output once again, the need for fresh, accurate and enticing content is enormous. Although many would have chosen to keep their marketing offerings in-house during the pandemic, now’s the time to invest in what you put out; marketing is why, and how, your customers not only buy from you, but find you in the first place.
In the same way you might do an alright job of cutting your partner’s hair, the chances are a professional will do a far better job. Professionalism is always key.
Content creation can be anything from graphics, adverts, social media posts, blogs, vlogs and website copy. Ensuring these are high quality will boost your search engine rankings. The more Google likes and respects what you do, the more traffic and exposure you’ll receive.
Outsourcing your content creation can significantly increase your financial return, freelancers and specialists are proven to be more productive and innovative. By giving the task to those who know how, you’ll be spending less hours yourself, therefore being able to distribute your time and effort elsewhere in your business.
The pandemic and the inevitable economic recession that has followed continues to be an incredibly difficult time for businesses both large and small, the important thing to take away from this is the changes both you and your customers are facing. If you are to continue marketing your brand effectively, you must demonstrate understanding and empathy whilst maintaining awareness of you and your business. Investing the time to your long-term strategy, website design, copy, brand message, SEO and social media will help to reinforce your business position.
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