Digital Marketing During the Coronavirus Crisis: What Every Digital Marketer Needs to Do
As governments and public health officials across the globe work to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, nearly everyone is feeling the impact. While some countries are on complete lockdown, other countries are carrying -or at least trying to carry -business as usual.
It comes as no surprise that the digital marketing world has felt the impact of this crisis acutely. Widespread cancelations, shipping issues, and halts in manufacturing are creating uncertain times for digital marketers worldwide.
I have spoken to many marketers that are tempted to tighten the reins on their marketing budget amid concerns about an impending recession. However, this is a mistake! Halting spending now could have an even more crippling effect on your future opportunities. (It feels counterintuitive, I know, but you can remain profitable if you adapt and make the correct marketing and operational shifts.)
Instead, marketers should call upon trusted partners to determine how to pivot their marketing strategy to ensure they stay on top of consumers’ minds, whether they are moving up their buying timeline or pushing it back.
Our consulting agency has been working closely with our clients to respond appropriately to Coronavirus concerns. We’ve been making successful strategic adjustments in their marketing messages, using different tactics.
Here are a few things you can consider for your organization:
Adjusting Your Business Delivery Model
With the CDC suggesting to cancel or postpone events with 50 people or more for at least the next eight weeks, many companies have been forced to rethink the way they do business.
Almost 25 states have announced closures of all bars and restaurants. Many retailers have indefinitely closed their stores -including Apple, Nike and Sephora Museums and major tourist attractions, including Disney, Six Flags and the Metropolitan Museum, have temporarily closed too.
While there’s no virtual experience that comes close to the magic and thrill of visiting Walt Disney World or attending a concert, social distancing measures are likely to drive more people to shop online causing a shift in consumer spending. That’s when digital marketers come in! Smart marketers, retailers, and other businesses can take proactive steps to prepare for this shift, including:
- Ensuring their website content has concrete SEO.
- Improving their customer experience to increase online conversions.
- Exploring new advertising opportunities, including reciprocal mailings.
- Restructuring email marketing campaigns to address the world we are currently living in.
- Using video ads to really move the needle and stand out to customers who have crowded sponsor feeds.
- Creating a connection with your customers that are feeling lonely due to social distancing.
Many companies have suspended, delayed or shifted planned marketing campaigns in the wake of the Coronavirus, as they should. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is absolutely no need to halt operations. The solution you’re looking for is to simply shift the focus of your message towards our changing times.
Let me explain: Every customer you have is affected in some way by the Coronavirus outbreak, and every single product has a relationship with the virus. Here are some examples:
~ Chris Isom of Isomzone is a fitness and nutrition trainer. He has changed his marketing message to remind people that working out releases the dopamine that makes us less stressed or depressed, boosting our immunity.
~ Mark Media of Seduction Guru is crushing it with his offers! He has his team put together a landing page with multiple offers on how to entertain yourself during social distancing.
~ Carl Pallister of DX Products shifted their marketing focus to the times of solitude during social distancing, reminding consumers that this can be a great time to work on yourself. They sell pumps that address issues of size and ED.
Because they made strategic marketing changes, their affiliates are still making money. Therefore, affiliates are focusing more on their ads instead of other companies’ ads that have failed to adapt their message.
As we all navigate this uncharted territory, digital marketers should respond with empathy and sensitivity to the world’s concerns. That includes carefully considering all emails and marketing ads and how they may be received by the masses during this time of crisis.
While some of us may need to redirect digital advertising focused on specific services, others can expand offers that meet people’s needs. Keep in mind that most people have the same needs they had before the crisis started, and many offers meet those needs, such as food, self-care, supplements, self-help, dating/seduction, finance, entertainment, etc. They all speak to what people are missing or needing right now.
Without realizing it, many of our digital marketing companies will likely be in even greater demand. We should all be considering how searches related to your services are evolving and ensure they have the right message and content to help consumer prospects learn more.
The Alternatives to Live Events
The cancellation of conferences hits many companies hard since they have lost a major source of leads they count on. That being said, there are still opportunities to connect with traffic sources if you’re willing to think outside the box.
Here are a few ideas:
- Host a virtual trade show! This can be a simple as a Zoom call.
- Rethink your keynote speech as a video and share it with attendees from trade shows past.
- Invite speakers from past and future conferences to repurpose their seminar as a video or guest blog post!
- Use the breakout session the speakers posted as materials to host a Zoom seminar series.
- Reach out to your best media contacts and ask them to join in.
- Get influencers on board! Chances are they are missing out too. Get them to advertise for you for a link on the registration lander.
Many companies are already seeing success with these digital marketing strategies. However, to be truly effective they need to be intentional and move quickly. Have a well thought out plan and execute it right away. This is not a time for pondering. It is not a time for discussing, this is a time for doing. If you don’t, others will do so in your place and you will miss out.
Even if your customers aren’t buying right now, change your marketing to address their needs and provide value to their lives through these difficult times. This may very well be the difference that wins you new customers. Consider adding info products to your email journeys to keep them engaged. Educational content that helps to solve their most pressing problems will always be in demand.
While this crisis has had a significant impact on the business and our economy, your company still has plenty of opportunities to be there for your customers and prospects throughout the crisis. Some people will be too afraid to spend money right now. You will not convert them all. However, keeping them engaged through retargeting will help you scale your business when this is over. There’s nothing to lose here, there’s just much to gain. Keeping those interested customers engaged and in the pipeline is a key component to coming out on top at the end of all this…and there will be an end, I promise.
Communicating with your Customers is KEY
In any time of crisis like the one we are faced within this moment in time, keeping quiet is the worst possible response. If your company does not aggressively respond to critical issues, the conversation will continue without your side of the story. You don’t want that. Actually, you can’t afford that happening, because your customers will look for answers by calling their banks. In fact, all the things you read before will be for naught if your customers aren’t taken care of.
If you are having issues with shipping or fulfilling supply, it will become the end of the world if you do not take a proactive stance. On the other hand, if you do take care of your customers, most of them will respond with patience and understanding. Call your customers. They know everything is taking longer to arrive than usual. Give them 20% off their next order or simply put updated delivery times on your check out page. Communication really is key right now… so communicate candidly.
Furthermore, you will want to address the crisis itself. Regardless of your demographic, they will expect to hear a proactive approach from you. Here is some basic information they are looking for:
- What your organization is doing to keep your employees, products and the public safe.
- Whether any recent changes impact your operations or events, i.e. shipping and distribution. (This is a great opportunity to upsell!)
- How you will be handling refunds if you’ve had a halt in manufacturing (A good plan will retain customers, not lose them.)
- What they can expect in the weeks to come.
You need to have a plan for responding to employee concerns, customer questions and possibly media inquiries. Leaving everyone to respond at the moment is a recipe for disaster.
If you need help planning your next move or revisiting your marketing strategy in response to the Coronavirus crisis, we’re here to help.
Over the coming weeks, Shockwave Solutions, LLC will be offering webinars to share what we know and what has proven to work. We have been implementing strategies for our clients that we will share with you. As always, we do not tell you some grand thing to do and leave you with no road map to get there. True to our promise, we will give you a complete road map, a step by step on how to get where you want to go. After all, this is what sets us apart from the rest.
Our first Zoom webinar will be on March 31st at 4 pm Central Time. All Zoom webinars are 100% free and will have no cheesy sales pitch at the end. This is all the information that we will be sharing with you free of charge!
Sign up for our March 31 webinar here.