It’s a tough time for business. Discover how you can best market your business during the coronavirus crisis and come out the other side in good shape.
Over the last few weeks, the Coronavirus has rocked the world. From staying at home to heaps of worrying about our loved ones, it’s changed so much about the way we live our lives.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably had one too many sleepless nights of late. Between anxiety-inducing balance sheets and tumbling levels of consumer sentiment, it’s an extraordinarily challenging time to be a business owner.
But it’s important to remember that the crisis will pass. The end will arrive. And what you do marketing-wise over the coming weeks will define your success over the next 12 months and beyond.
To that end, we’ve compiled our best marketing advice to help you weather the COVID-19 storm. Implementing these principles will see you emerge on the other side in a stronger position than ever.
1. Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop Marketing
Understandably, you’re looking to cut expenses left, right and centre where possible. However, drastically cutting your marketing spend during the coronavirus outbreak could backfire in a big way. That’s because a cut in marketing activity is a short-term solution that has long-term consequences.
Think about it, when your exposure is reduced, so too is your revenue. And when your revenue plummets, you’ve got less to spend on advertising. There’s no need to explain how that downward spiral ends.
So, rather than putting your marketing efforts on hold, focus on the area that will bring you the most reward for your investment right now: digital marketing.
2. Double Down on Digital
You need to stay visible in your market to ensure long-term profitability. And in the current circumstances, digital channels are the best way to do that.
Why? Well, with everyone stuck at home, internet usage is rocketing. The research shows that 57% of folks are spending more time online due to the Coronavirus.
Social media users are now averaging between 3 and 7 hours per day using their favorite platforms and online shopping is up by over 30% on pre-COVID levels. Incredibly, of the purchases made in March, a whopping 79% were attributed to a digital ad
That means there’s never been a more important time to maximise your online presence. By allocating a greater portion of your marketing budget to SEO, PPC, and Social Media you’ll build relationships with your audience, strengthen your brand image and win more customers.
3. Useful Content is King
To maintain and build relationships with consumers while many are sidelined, many brands are upping their content marketing game. And you should too.
Just look at how hotel chain DoubleTree are connecting with their audience by sharing some of their most loved hotel recipes so people can make them at home.
Their content keeps their brand at the top of their customer’s minds, even when booking a hotel is the last thing they’re going to do right now.
Nike are also stepping up their content efforts with their ‘Play For The World Campaign’. The campaign uses Nike’s roster of pro athletes to show others how to stay in shape at home.
The takeaway? Aim to make yourself useful to your audience. Figure out a way that you can make being stuck at home a little bit easier.
4. Think Long-term with SEO
In times of crisis, it’s easy to get caught up in short-term thinking. If you’ve been neglecting your SEO for a while, now is the perfect time to get back on track. Marketing during the coronavirus doesn’t have to only focus on immediate results.
Getting ranked on Google won’t happen overnight. It takes months rather than weeks. And while customers might be a little harder to come by these days one thing is for sure – search traffic is only going to increase in value over the next decade.
Trust us, when things get back to normal, you’ll reap the rewards – a leg up on your competition boosted traffic and a more engaged audience.
5. Focus on Authenticity
Consumers rate brand authenticity very highly. In fact, 89 % of customers expect companies to act with integrity at all times. So, now more than ever your marketing messages need to reflect the values of your company.
Don’t try to side-step the reality of the current situation or capitalise on people’s fears or anxieties. Using humour to market during the coronavirus crisis is ok, but there’s also a risk of inadvertently coming off as insensitive. So, it’s better to err on the side of ‘serious tone’ rather than end up being seen as offensive.
Think about how you can communicate the values of your company at this time. Perhaps consider encouraging employees to use your company’s social media to share their COVID-19 experiences with your customers.
The more you share an authentic sense of who your brand is and the humans behind it (plus their favorite Netflix shows) the more rapport you’ll build. And that’ll last for years to come.
6. Use Paid Traffic (It’s going cheap!)
The large uptick in internet usage combined with many large advertisers pulling their ads has caused the price of paid traffic to plummet. That means it’s an awesome way to market during the coronavirus
Auction-based advertising services like Google Ads and Facebook are offering traffic at rates that haven’t been seen in years. And while it’s true that conversion rates are slightly down, we’ve seen the average return on investment increase.
So, if you haven’t been running paid up to this point, now is the perfect time to jump in and get your first couple of easy wins.
7. Adapt Your Offer
If you’ve had to temporarily close your business due to lock-down, use your creativity to work out other ways you can continue to generate revenue.
For example, If you’re a restaurant, why not create do-it-yourself at-home kits to create some quality family time (and good food) for your customers during this crisis.
If you’re a personal trainer or gym, you could live stream workouts to keep people active and sane in their own homes.
If you’re a hotel, perhaps offer your rooms to people returning from overseas who need to self-isolate away from family.
If you’re a music venue, you could host live broadcasts with artists from their own homes to keep people entertained.
Think about offering educational-based training too. For example, if you’re an accountant could you put together a short course to help small businesses or solopreneurs?
People have so much time on their hands and informative courses that they can level-up their skills and career prospects are in high-demand right now.
Obviously, not every business will be able to continue to offer services. But with a little creativity, most people will be able to come up with a way they can continue to operate, even at a reduced capacity.
8. Tend to Your Spring Cleaning
In the same way that house-bound folks are using this time to tackle home maintenance and cleaning projects, you should also use this time to do ‘marketing maintenance’ of your own.
Most businesses neglect the certain aspect of their marketing – it could be that your e-mail autoresponder sequences need a re-fresh or it might be that you’ve been putting off undertaking a much-needed SEO audit.
Take stock of your current marketing processes and workflows. Think about where you can streamline your efforts to maximise your marketing efficiency over the long term.
With potentially less customer-related matters to occupy you, now is the perfect time to give your sales funnel a lick of paint. When this is all over, you’ll be ready to rev-up your marketing engine like a brand new motorbike.
We’re living in unprecedented times. Some businesses will go bust, others will batten down the hatches and try to weather the storm. But savvy businesses who embrace the opportunity that current circumstances present are the ones who are going to come out on top.
Marketing during the coronavirus is challenging. Yes, it’s absolutely time to reassess your marketing strategy. Yes, it’s time to think about where you’re allocating your budget. But it’s not time to hit pause. Digital marketing is an effective, measurable and low risk. It needs to be an indispensable part of your organisation’s coronavirus strategy.