Coronavirus is changing the way we work. The way we communicate. The way we live. Although our futures are uncertain in these unprecedented times, restrictions are easing for many states and there’s talk that most businesses should be back operating as per normal by mid-July. However, the damage has been done for many small to medium businesses. Even with help from the government, many will struggle to keep their employees employed, let alone consider what they’ll be spending on marketing going forward.
It’s hard to navigate this new world. Especially when we don’t know what this new world looks like yet. Even if many businesses open their doors soon, the way they operate could be drastically different from pre-corona times. Hospitality venues will likely be running at less capacity to ensure social distancing rules are adhered to. Some companies may keep their employees working from home, or working in offices at different times to allow minimal cross-contact with other employees. Retail businesses will limit the people allowed in stores. And in some industries, businesses won’t survive.
With July still months away, and some companies in limbo, it’s wise to take action. You’ll likely want to minimise expenditure now to help stay afloat until your doors can open again at full capacity. When you are looking at a reduced marketing budget, or without a budget at all, it can be difficult to decide what to do and where any money should go. You’re probably wondering if there is any point continuing marketing at all.
We know most digital marketing strategies are long-term investments. When it comes to SEO for instance, it requires a holistic strategy with consistent manual work month to month for optimal results. It can take some businesses up to a year to see a return on the investment. The benefits, however, are substantial and can become the most important marketing strategy to see your brand grow. Stopping your SEO strategy can be detrimental to your whole business.
With nearly 4 billion people using social media every day, every organisation needs a presence on there for lead generation and communication with their audience in real-time. For smaller companies, social media can be the best tool to attract new customers and show their current clientele their brand is active. PPC campaigns can see some quick wins for companies to get people on their site. And none of these strategies can work without a secure, easy to navigate, high-performing website.
According to the guys at CXL on this blog post businesses who chose a more proactive strategy of refocusing spending during a recession have outperformed businesses that made dramatic cuts. Ideally, you want to keep your digital presence as active as possible. So what can you do to keep your business afloat and continue marketing during these tough times?
How Do You Navigate Your Digital Marketing Strategy During Coronavirus?
Don’t Let Panic Make Your Decisions For You
We understand times are tough. Your trade may have plummeted if you’re able to trade at all. This can be causing panic, and no good decisions are made when panic is involved. But you know what? Things will get better. Most businesses will survive the chaos, just as they have through wartime, recessions, depressions, and pandemics in the past. Making a snap decision to cancel all marketing or close the doors indefinitely based on emotion may not be the best move right now.
According to HBR, China appears to be in the early stages of an economic rebound, and the fastest-recovering companies proactively looked ahead of the virus and the possibilities and anticipated shifts. This looks like a positive indication. Putting together a rational marketing plan for the future when we should see some normality, based on the information available for your business and industry, is the best approach to ensure your business survives.
Find Out What Help You’re Entitled To
There is help available. Your business might be entitled to the job keeper payments to keep your employees employed, which means the federal government will pay eligible employers $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible worker, about 70% of the national median wage. To receive a payment, both the employer and employee must meet eligibility criteria and you should head to the Business Gov Website to find out more.
They are also offering temporary cash flow support of up to $100,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits that employ staff to help with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff. Also, contact your bank or financial institution to see if they have solutions to ease your repayments and your commercial landlord as well for a reduction in rent if available.
Talk To Your Digital Marketing Team
No matter what situation you’ve found yourself in, the best thing to do is to communicate with your digital marketing team. There may be several ways to keep your strategies working by reducing the hours spent on, rejigging priorities, or focusing on more budget-friendly options. You might look at pausing some strategies or all strategies for a couple of months until some things return to normal for you, which is a better solution than stopping altogether.
If you do have down-time during this period, a good digital marketing agency will help you use it efficiently. They may be able to coach you to take on some of the digital work yourself to reduce your budget like creating your own blog articles or Instagram content. At Dux Digital, we’re always available and open to making changes that best support your current situation. We will work with you on the best ways to weather the storm until things are getting back to normal.
Adapt How You Do Business And Offer Alternative Services
Businesses who adapt swiftly to Coronavirus, are those that are going to fare better in the long-term. For example, many hospitality venues started offering takeaway options, including alcohol, to keep things running. Gyms started offering online workouts. Beauticians offered Skype Makeup lessons. Doctors and medical clinics are starting to take appointments via Facetime. Businesses also had to adapt the way their employees would work for them whilst now mostly remotely and using services like online meetings, streaming, video, and by selling virtually.
If you’re in an industry where there are viable ways to take your business online or adapt in different ways, then why wouldn’t you? Or if you’re in an industry where it’s just not possible, can you offer gift vouchers or other ways to get some sort of income stream happening? Can you rent out equipment to use at home? Can you create downloadable content that people would pay for? Look outside the box or talk to your digital marketing team for ideas.
Associate Your Brand With Good
If you have the capabilities to do something good during this crisis, then why wouldn’t you do? When done with authenticity and genuine kindness and concern, brands that stood out and helped out during difficult times, are brands remembered fondly. Not only that but sharing this feel-good content promotes positive messaging and helps counteract some of the anxiety people are feeling at the time. However, companies need to show that their contributions are material and not solely for commercial benefit.
Is it possible to donate to charities or food services? Are you able to provide free products or reduced-price items to essential workers? Are you capable of producing much needed medical supplies? Can you volunteer your services in any way? We believe brands that are promoting acts, not ads, will be better received, as brand promotion can seem insensitive in this climate. Just look at the team at Bacardi who are using their distilleries to make hand sanitizer or Guinness which has pledged funds to bartenders. They are companies we want to get behind.
Communicate With Your Clients
We’ve all received those emails from every single business we’ve had any contact with telling us how they are “keeping us safe” during coronavirus. Which is great, but for a lot of these companies it seems to be a “one size fits all blanket approach”. Businesses who communicate with customers simply, clearly, and directly about how their services will be affected and offer solutions are those that will stay a step ahead.
You need to ensure that your clients know they are the priority, despite everything else going on. You can do this by keeping communication open, updating them when you have information, and providing multiple ways they can contact you from email, phone number, and social media messaging. It’s also important to make sure your messaging isn’t insensitive or tone-deaf amid the crisis. Make sure you double-check any already scheduled campaigns as well.
Ensure Your Online Information Is Correct
Speaking of which, keeping your website updated and having correct online business information is crucial. You might have varying operating hours, limits to how many people you can have in the store, or other key information your customers need. Most people will turn to Google so would be searching for instance, ‘Cafe’s still trading ” or ‘pharmacy open near me’, etc. Having the right information ready to go on your Google My Business is imperative.
Google did recently announce some of GMB’s features have been temporarily removed due to COVID-19. However, there are no changes to how you edit your business descriptions to reflect any updates to services or product availability and contact information. If you have any trouble with this, get in touch. We can help. You should also keep other business listings like Tripadvisor or Apple Maps updated as well.
When Looking At Your Current Campaigns Remember These Are Unusual Times
Across the board, we are seeing our client’s websites with wildly unusual traffic patterns. Under normal circumstances, we’d look for seasonal changes, Google algorithms, or core updates, or check the technical health of websites for an explanation. We have discovered there has been a recent Google Core Update on May 4th that has affected sites from various industries in many ways. And of course, Coronavirus is causing absolute havoc. We’ll continue to monitor the changes of this latest Core Update and make changes for our clients if necessary.
If you are keeping an eye on your website traffic and your digital marketing campaigns understand that these are times you haven’t encountered since you first published your website, nor in your lifetime. Comparing this period to that of the previous period or year is not going to be accurate in understanding the current or future behaviour of your website visitors. Any type of forecasting relies on historical data to predict future trends. Given the volatility of the situation, it’s best to leave the data deep dive for when things are returning to normal.
Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge
As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should decline (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when we’ll be living our new normal and consumers’ spending habits will stabilise. How you use the first few months will determine how quickly and how well your business will thrive. You need a planned course of action pointing the way to the position you hope to attain. It should explain what you need to do today to achieve your objectives tomorrow.
Look at the products and services you wish to prioritise post-corona and tailor your marketing towards these now. Plan a content calendar of blog articles and onsite content for the coming months. Start creating social media content and campaigns now. Update your products online or refresh your website if it needs an overhaul. Ask customers for reviews if possible. Prepare your business for the government changes necessary. Start a waiting list if you’ve been closed for the post-corona surge, and ensure you have the space and staff to meet these.
Or get in touch with our team at Dux Digital to collaborate on the best strategy for your brand post-corona and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you. We have experts in all digital marketing principles who are closely monitoring the current climate and trends and have the expertise to help your business now, or after Covid-19. Whether it’s creating a new website, SEO, PPC, or paid Social Media, our team can work with you to help achieve your marketing goals and grow your business.