If there’s one thing guaranteed to throw a cloak of confusion over a company marketing department, it’s a projected global recession.
Throw into the mix an ongoing worldwide pandemic and you can’t blame companies for pulling up the shutters on their marketing output.
It’s a quick decision for many, yet one where haste can end up costing more over the long term than the projected short-term savings businesses are trying to make through cutting their marketing output.
Marketing during coronavirus requires more of a ‘reactive’ strategy and here’s why:
Gauge the mood of your customers
Understanding your audience is key.
Understanding their feelings and emotions is even more important.
If you do, you can market to them effectively, build trust and build brand loyalty for the long term.
And that’s the key here – all the marketing you do during this crisis should be with a long-term view.
Be positive, but be careful
Brand positivity during coronavirus has been proven to go one of two ways.
You’ll either invigorate your customers’ own mindsets at a time when they need it, or you’ll miss the mark completely.
For example, businesses projecting the ‘business as usual’ message into their mailing list’s inboxes days before the UK was placed in lockdown will have come across as arrogant and insensitive when their customers’ anxiety levels were probably at their highest.
Positive messaging can be as simple as asking how your existing customers are and whether they need anything from you.
Or just reminding them gently that you’re there if they do need anything.
The key is to offer empathy first and then try to help or solve your customers’ problems.
Amend your channels if you need to
Lockdown means one guaranteed thing for marketers – their audiences will be spending even more time online.
Take some time during the pandemic to really study what your customers are up to online, where they’re hanging out and the content they’re digesting.
If they’re spending more time on social media, increase your activity on those channels.
If they’re spending more time looking for information on Google, produce well-optimised blogs for your website that answer that search intent.
But remember to try to find that sweet spot between positivity and saying nothing at all.
Your audience will almost certainly be digesting more news content than perhaps they did pre-coronavirus and doing so can unquestionably affect levels of confusion and anxiety.
Keep your messaging simple and your language gentle.
Consider spending some money
During this crisis? You must be joking!
Yes, we know this won’t work for every marketing team out there.
But there are opportunities to get more for less.
One area where prices have dipped is Google ads and it’s easy to see why.
Google ads work on a bidding process and fewer companies are bidding on keywords right now.
If fewer companies are bidding, cost per click (CPC) decreases so now could be a good time to throw a little spend at paid ads.
Or throw yourself into SEO
Time online is up and more people than ever before are looking for answers online.
This is a huge opportunity for you to answer the questions on the lips of your existing customers and new ones.
Of course, many sectors have seen organic traffic decline during coronavirus, too – the obvious ones being travel and transport.
But search volume in general is up as people spend more and more time online alongside more and more time at home.
If you can answer questions and solve problems relevant to your audience then do so through blog or landing page content.
If you can, look to optimise your content for Google’s rich search results, too.
It’s a massive opportunity to boost your website traffic and rankings, but remember to be empathetic with your tone at all times.
The most important thing? Don’t stop marketing
Whatever the effect of coronavirus on your business, breaking the lines of communication between you and your customers is not the answer.
Like social distancing and queuing to get into the supermarket, coronavirus is a period of change and adaptation for marketers.
Even if your budget for areas like paid ads, e-shots, print advertising or events no longer exists, staying in touch with your customers is key and can still be done with a flat-lined budget.
Just remember to show empathy and care with the content you produce and try to help people.
And if you can’t do all that, at least start planning for your marketing activity post-coronavirus.
Because there will be a ‘post-coronavirus’ and you’ll want to be there, ready, when it arrives.
Check out our business support webinars
We’ve got some amazing clients at our serviced offices in Bournemouth and some incredible contacts through those clients.
So, throughout lockdown we’ve been running a series of business support webinars aimed at helping companies navigate their way through the coronavirus crisis.
We’ve covered HR, the government’s Job Retention Scheme and productivity and collaboration and the webinars can all be watched back here.