As the coronavirus continues to impact virtually every aspect of our lives, finding new ways to adapt your marketing strategy and deliver products and services to customers is critical.
Below, we’ve put together five essential changes that you should make to your campaigns…
Communicate with customers
In these hugely uncertain times, letting customers know of any changes to your service is important.
Whether you’ve had to close temporarily or it’s business as usual, make sure that your website and social media channels relay any important information, and be transparent on delivery issues and stock shortages to manage customers’ expectations where possible.
For those who offer customer service over the phone, encouraging your customers to leave a message via direct message or email should reduce the burden and allow you to answer as many enquiries as possible. And be strategic: Facebook Messenger, for example, allows you to send out automatic replies to those who message you, and you can use that feature to share links to your FAQs and let people know there’ll be a delay in receiving a response.
If you have customers with ongoing concerns – for example, care home clients, hotel guests with upcoming bookings, issues with deliveries – consider starting a Facebook Group so that people can stay up to date, keeping discussions and frustrations away from your main page.
Open up your software
An increasing number of brands are opening up their apps and software for businesses and consumers to use for free during the coronavirus crisis. Zoom and Microsoft are offering free premium access to select features, whilst the Cambridge University Press is offering access to higher education textbooks until the end of May to help those who are studying at home.
By giving away your software for free or offering an extended free trial, you’ll be able to give back during the crisis without significant financial implications. What’s more, you’ll be able to build brand awareness and customer advocacy and open up your software to thousands of new users who may convert into loyal, long-term paying subscribers in the years to come.
Broaching this subject with existing subscribers won’t be easy, so weigh up the opportunity costs of offering your software for free. You may decide to offer paying subscribers a break on their payments during COVID-19 or donate a percentage of their subscription fee to charities to encourage them to continue paying their monthly direct debit. Balance this with your free trials to ensure both existing and new customers feel valued.
Change your approach to SEO
Adapting your search engine optimisation strategy during this time should be less about trying to rank for COVID-related keywords and more about updating your customers and ensuring they have access to the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Update your opening times and contact information on your website, Google My Business profile and social media channels, and publish information about changes to your operating procedures, too. You should also link key information on your homepage navigation (for example, your COVID-19 response page), and bring content to the forefront to inform and support your existing users. FAQs and video tutorials, for instance, should be prominent.
You can also use the downtime to carry out SEO tasks that are further down your list, like better-optimising old blog posts and landing pages. Review recurring and scheduled content to ensure it’s relevant and appropriate, and pause subscriptions on expensive SEO tools.
Redouble your ecommerce
According to data from ACI Worldwide, ecommerce sales have risen dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak began, with a 74% increase in average transaction volumes over last year.
And it’s not just essential supplies – as consumers face months of lockdown, with many out of work or furloughed, demand in virtually every sector is increasing through ecommerce.
Transaction volumes for home products have increased by 97%, DIY products ballooned 136%, garden essentials are up 163% and electronics are up more than 25%. Review your entire product lineup and ensure that you’re pushing products that consumers would want.
Ecommerce is now the backbone of the economy with most shops shut, and in the months ahead, occasional users will be converted into more recurrent online shoppers. Now is your opportunity to deliver a great service and increase brand trust and awareness in the process.
As well as updating your websites and strengthening your ecommerce platform and server to cope with increased demand, you should also be prepared behind the scenes for increased sales.
Data from Engine has found people are spending on average 10-30% more online per transaction, so use analytics to predict sales and refresh your stock levels accordingly.
Adjust your pay-per-click campaigns
The advertising landscape changed virtually overnight with the spread of coronavirus. Data shows that Facebook and Google will lose an eye-watering $44 billion in 2020 due to the coronavirus impacting ad sales, and though some industries may benefit from cheaper cost-per-clicks, it is important that you take a sensitive approach with your online advertising.
Make sure that you review your campaigns to ensure your budget is being spent on keywords where demand can be met (there’s no point in promoting your hand sanitiser landing page if you’re sold out) and schedule ads so they’re shown at the right times (a “call now” CTA is useless if your office is shut or there’s nobody around to answer the phone).
You should also think about device preferences. If you typically target smartphone users on their morning commute, think about their behaviour at home and consider moving over to tablet and PC advertising, and make sure your ad copy sits right with the tone of the country.
Follow developments closely
Finally, make sure that you keep an eye on the news and adapt your marketing campaigns accordingly. A new study has shown that there were 27.4% fewer image and video ads of models displaying human interaction like hugging, hanging out, and shaking hands and your campaigns should follow suit and be responsible and responsive to the overall public mood.
For companies that operate in B2B, monitoring the impact of coronavirus on your industry is doubly important. Sharing research and news can position you as a “COVID-19 authority” in your niche and help you increase trust and brand awareness in these challenging times, but be mindful of your tone and try not to be too “doom and gloom” or you could lose followers.
The truth is that no marketing campaign should be running as usual right now. Every brand needs to think about their strategy and make changes to ensure what they’re posting is not only sensitive but relevant to our changing times. If you’re strategic, your marketing budget should travel further and allow you to connect with your customers on a deeper level; if you get it wrong, you risk permanently damaging your reputation in the post-COVID world.
Reach out to the digital marketing experts at Zudu today for a free brand health check.