We are undoubtedly in unchartered territory as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the globe. While finances might be a concern for many, completely cutting your marketing budget to save money is like stopping a clock to save time. In this article, we share COVID-19 marketing advice to help your business remain top of mind during the lockdown.
The Importance Of Effective COVID-19 Marketing
Digital marketing has transformed the way the business world works and now, it’s more important than ever. This is because technology allows us to connect with millions of people from anywhere in the world without leaving your home or office.
During the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of your target audience will spend most of their time indoors. They will more than likely use their leisure time engaging with various online content. That said, facing the challenges of the lockdown, COVID-19 marketing efforts should be undertaken with tact, empathy and mindfulness. Here are a few ways to keep promoting your brand.
Re-think Your Ad Spend
Not surprisingly, a forecast from eMarketer shows that global worldwide ad spend is down $20B from the beginning of 2020. As a result of the lockdown, streaming media has increased significantly with the same applying to video conferencing software.
However bad the situation may seem, stopping ad spend is not the answer. Brands should rather refocus spend on key areas, including streaming, gaming or online food delivery. According to data from eMarketer, the best use of ad spend at the moment is PPC, closely followed by email marketing and regional advertising.
Adjust And Restructure Marketing Campaigns
Stopping all marketing efforts is not advisable as brands can simply re-structure specific campaigns. This becomes particularly important for pre-scheduled events where a product or service launch is imminent. Not all brands have the ability or financial means to produce quick turnaround campaigns but this may help.
First, audit what is currently in your pipeline and decide what you should pause immediately. Extend timelines for major campaigns that could be eclipsed or paused entirely if the content is deemed inappropriate. However, just because a campaign has some elements that may not be appropriate now doesn’t mean it has to be cancelled.
Next, prioritize what needs to be created, posted or promoted and find ways to pivot certain messages. For example, a campaign focusing on “How To Improve Customer Relationships” can be adjusted to “Top Tips For Supporting Your Customers” or “The Importance Of Customer Relationships During Challenging Times”.
Change Campaign Visuals For COVID-19 Marketing Success
The impact of visual communication is beyond powerful just as the words we use. For this reason, it’s essential to evaluate the messages your brand is sending. Pay close attention to the following:
- Don’t use images of crowds or people touching, including people working in offices or at social gatherings
- It may sound silly but change marketing language that describes close interaction. Reconsider figurative language use like “Get in touch” or “Work closely together” as these sort of messaging may be scrutinized
- Change visuals if you have a current or upcoming campaign or extend the timeline to once the lockdown is lifted
Please note: This refers specifically to “push” content which is described as the content you are actively putting in front of people across various channels. It includes social media posts, email subject lines, campaign taglines, blogs and other online content.
Promote Your Brand Without Trying To Capitalise On A Crisis
We’ve all seen or heard about certain companies taking advantage of this crisis, from small vendors to large corporations. Business is business and while the bottom line is the end goal, how you get there can have a massive impact on the future of your brand. Here are a few important things to keep in mind during this time of uncertainty and, anxiety and fear.
How To Communicate With Tact And Empathy
Brands need to communicate their response to the crisis as it pertains to their business. It could involve the proactive measures you are taking, store closures or COVID-19 policy updates. Don’t just publish random COVID-19 posts just to benefit from the traffic. Also, don’t brag about working from home as many people aren’t that fortunate and they are genuinely concerned.
By all means, spread important information about the coronavirus but don’t add to the panic by using overly dramatic language. Be mindful in terms of what you post and whether the information is from credible sources.
Lastly, please DO NOT use tactless messaging such as “COVID-19 Sale Now On” or “Incredible COVID-19 Discounts”. Have some tact and use a spirit of humility and empathy as a default for anything your brand says now, and in the future.
Positivity During The COVID-19 Pandemic
With everything that’s happening with the coronavirus, it’s hard to imagine some people are still not taking it seriously enough. It’s an illness that is extremely contagious with thousands of fatalities across the globe. This doesn’t mean changing your brand voice to reflect depression, anxiousness or fear.
There’s no need to change your brand to a negative or grim voice. Instead, use your ‘brand heart’ to remind yourself, and customers, what your brand stands for. This refers to purpose, vision, mission, and values which you can accentuate by leaning into human stories.
Allow your principles to set the tone and never be afraid to be vulnerable. Be personable and add some emotion to your content but don’t overdo. The world isn’t ending and we need to be reminded of “normal life” so using smiling people in imagery shouldn’t offend anyone.
How To Optimise Your COVID-19 Marketing Strategy
Turning your existing marketing campaign digital is a sure way of getting through the lockdown. If your business wasn’t already using digital marketing before, now is the time to start. From your website, email marketing and social media, you need to build a winning strategy.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure your brand stands out from the competition as most businesses are using digital platforms to promote their products or services. We look at a few ways you can add flavour to your COVID-19 marketing strategy.
Make Improvements Across The Board
First off, your website could get additional traffic considering more people are online at all hours of the day. Try and improve a few things on your website and how you communicate online in general. Here are a few examples:
- Rearrange and enhance your call-to-actions (CTAs) to fit in with the current situation. Make sure they are easy to find and communicate special offers clearly but don’t overdo it
- Increase engagement by communicating across all channels and be more responsive to comments on your website or social media
- Revisit your SEO strategy and try to use current and relevant keywords. Add interactive content that synchronises with the current situation and use keyword-rich words
- Share information about your brand that can help improve customer relationships. Creating an online quiz or sharing fun facts are always good options
It’s important to keep your message brief and simple regardless of context or platform. It’s not business as usual, although too many people may disagree, the idea is to stay in touch with your target audience. Try to avoid negative or depressing content that constantly reminds everyone that they are experiencing a disaster. Instead, use light-hearted content in-between and information that is useful to their current situation.
A great example is giving them tips on how to stay busy during the lockdown. This can include fun activities to do with the kids, declutter your home, spring cleaning or tips on working remotely during COVID-19. This sort of information can help your audience get through the situation calmly while you tactfully promoting your brand.
Maximise Social Media Platforms
As part of a successful COVID-19 marketing strategy, you must capitalise on trending topics to see how they may sync with your objectives. First off, spend some time on social media and listen to what your target audience is saying. This will help you determine the type of content you need to create along with the right tone of voice.
If they’re concerned about something specific with which your brand can help, post some useful tips. For example, if you are selling electronics like TV sets and gaming consoles, tell them how to stream videos straight to their TV or where to buy the latest online games.
Competitions Or Online Contests
Another powerful COVID-19 marketing technique to keep your consumers engaged and entertained is to start competitions on social media. For some time competitions have been known to improve brand awareness and attract new business. Here are a few great examples of competitions:
- Share some not-so-secret information about your brand and ask questions like when your brand was first launched. The first three people with the right answer could win a prize after the lockdown
- Restaurants or pubs could ask their audience to comment about their most memorable experience at the venue. The person with the best story could win a voucher which they can redeem at the establishment after the lockdown
- A subscription-based business can run a competition on their website or social media platforms. The prize can be a free subscription for a month or two if they can refer three of their friends
During these tough times, capitalising on an unfortunate situation is distasteful and, quite frankly, unacceptable. However, marketing is necessary for the success of every business but you need to be careful in terms of what you say, how you say it and where. What you do during the lockdown (good or bad) can ultimately dictate the future success of your business.
We encourage everyone to stay at home, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Let’s work together to ‘flatten the curve’ and limit the spread of coronavirus. For all the latest updates on the coronavirus in the UK, visit the government’s information page.
If you need an expert digital marketing agency in your corner, WSI can help set up a COVID-19 marketing strategy just for you. Visit our website or call us on 01453 542761 to discuss all of your requirements and provide a no-obligation solution.