These are unchartered waters. The coronavirus pandemic is affecting different businesses in different ways. As marketers, we must do our best to be as proactive as possible, react to changes with agility and intelligence, and stay strong to weather the storm. It’s important to communicate with your team often, follow best practices, and maybe even take a risk or two. The brands that use fortitude, creativity, and spend budgets wisely will be the brands that come out on top.
At Site-Seeker, we work with a variety of partners across many different verticals. Each has been impacted differently from a digital marketing standpoint. Just at a glance, here are the traffic numbers we see for some (Feb 22 to March, measured year over year):
Knowing that things are very turbulent right now (and fluidly changing), it’s important to map out a plan of how you can utilize your time, team, and resources to make the best use of this critical period.
Here are 5 ideas.
Even more, these are tactics that can be applied from your remote environment and don’t require in-person interactions with staff, customers, or you to be on-site at your office or facility.
1) Updates Across All Channels
People are confused right now. They don’t know which businesses are open, which are closed, and if there are any changes they need to make in order to do business with you. This is a massive disruption in how people normally operate. It’s your duty to inform your customers/buyers and business partners on how they should be dealing with you right now. Remember, current customers are more important to your business than new ones.
- Alert your customers, and inform them often, of any changes being made to your business and operations.
- Utilize all the different resources/channels at your disposal to efficiently get the word out.
- Take advantage of email, website homepage banner, website pop-up, local listing pages, pinned posts, social media banners, social media posts, and internal communication channels.
2) Adjust Targeting & Channels Based on Current Landscape
You must be exploring how your business is being affected by the pandemic. Your best bet is to start with Google Analytics and see how traffic and conversions have changed. Now, you must challenge yourself with the “Why?” Look at trends leading up to late February, as well as Feb 22 to Mar 22 vs the same period last year. What’s going on? Advertising is going to be one of the best ways for you to gain some control back and make changes that actually have an impact.
- Brand visibility can go a long way right now. People are researching, they are online, they are on social media. Seeing your brand’s messaging now (top of the funnel), could lead to decision-making in your favor down the road.
- We’ve seen large increases in mobile traffic during the coronavirus season. If you see the same, optimize your site and landing pages for mobile visitors, if you have not already done so.
- If you participate in search ads, I bet your ads are being searched and seen for different keywords right now. Explore your keyword reports and adjust keywords as necessary (double down on the ones that are working well, and pause other keywords and campaigns that are not working now). Test to see how your social ads are performing and pivot as needed with creative, targeting and spend. There’s a lot of clutter on social media right now. Be mindful of what you are posting, be authentic, empathetic, informative and don’t be afraid to invest dollars where it makes sense.
3) Take Advantage of AI Now
We’ve seen a major rise in artificial intelligence (AI) tools in recent years. But a lot of businesses, especially SMBs, seem to keep putting it off. Here’s why you shouldn’t? If your organization has experienced lay-offs, your remaining staff is likely overburdened. Beyond that, once things normalize, you may experience a surge in traffic and inquiries (hopefully), and these tools could support your team in a big way. They offer great efficiency.
- LiveChat can help spur website-based interactions. It’s low-barrier and very easy to use for the customers/buyer. Program some intelligence so basic Q&As are answered before your human team has to jump in.
- Social media is certainly where a lot of people go these days to ask brands questions. Social listening is very important right now. Set-up a social bot for direct messages (like MobileMonkey) that can handle the potential outpouring of inquiries.
- Don’t forget about email automation. Even basic auto-replies after form fills or certain actions being taken on your site (like a download) can go a long way. It offers a great additional touchpoint and gives them the opportunity to forward that email, or return back to your site now, or later.
4) Be Where Your Customers Are
Just like you’re at home right now, so too are your customers. Keep that in mind, as you put forth your adjusted marketing strategy and plan. They are out of their normal routines, and they need to be accommodated. Focus on two specific ways that you can reach them right now:
- Print: One way to get inside your customers’ homes is right through the front door! Don’t overlook print pieces (especially if they are creative) to get your message to the right folks. Many things have stopped in our world today – USPS, FedEx, and UPS are not them. If you use variable printing, you can tie your print campaigns to online efforts through trackable URLs and landing pages. Don’t forget to personalize. And don’t forget to use home addresses instead of business ones!
- Virtual: See what ways you can “go virtual” with your business. Consider social content where you give demos or hands-on reviews of your products. If you’re a food or beverage company, do virtual taste-tests or virtual tasting parties. Host webinars or take that trade show you weren’t able to sponsor or attend and transform it into a video-based session. It’s okay if some of the quality is lacking. We all understand you don’t have your full equipment or your full production team by your side right now. It’s okay. It is important to be active and communicate with your audience.
5) Take Advantage of the Downtime
The bad news is that we’re home and have some downtime since a lot of our typical day-to-day duties just can’t be performed right now. The good news is that we’re home and have some downtime since a lot of our typical day-to-day duties just can’t be performed right now.
Use this time wisely.
Get caught up on tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. More importantly, support your marketing efforts by tackling those time-intensive projects that require research and focus. Here are some suggestions:
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. Instead of queuing out social media 2-4 weeks in advance, work on content for the rest of the year. As long as it’s evergreen material, the majority of it will be able to be used throughout the year. Research influencers in your brand’s field so you can flush out an influencer outreach program once things normalize. Plan out, write, and schedule out your campaigns well in advance too.
- Write, write, write. There’s always writing that needs to be done, whether it’s social captions, new website pages, blogs or articles, FAQ pages, an updated bio, scripts for video content, etc. Use the time you have at home to put pen to pad.
- Learn, learn, learn. Read industry articles and catch up on everything you have saved in your inbox because you wanted to come back to it, but just hadn’t found the time in the past.