COVID-19: Survival Digital Marketing Strategy

The pandemic has caused the business environment to become volatile and has certainly impacted consumer behaviour during COVID-19. Almost all business owners are facing a huge challenge. Creating a strong image with a COVID-19 marketing strategy will assist your business in overcoming the crisis. Turning to digital marketing amid the crisis will enable you to attract customers and potentially a new target market. The following are a set of guidelines and suggestions to assist you during his challenging time.

Adjust marketing plans with the FASTR strategy

The COVID-19 outbreak is a situation that no business has ever experienced before and brings with it several questions about survival. We have curated the FASTR framework which can easily be implemented into your current online marketing strategy to adjust your perspective and positioning. To further understand this framework, we have broken it down into sections with in-depth information and step-by-step analysis.

F = First Understand

Analyse what consumers have to say about this situation and your own business by using social listening and tracking tools. One of the simplest methods is to contact your customers and/or partners directly and speak to them about how they have been affected and what you can potentially do to assist them.

This will enable you to create impactful and relevant content to increase your value. ‘Value added’ content will not only encourage engagement but will also improve your brand awareness and reach a wider audience.

A = Adapt

Do you need to adapt your marketing strategy? Adjusting your content, including methods of communication, based around the behaviour of people during COVID-19 will assist in meeting the needs of your customer base. A few things to keep in mind: 1) when is the best time to push out updates, 2) when will most people be online and 3) which social listening tools can help gather this information?

Additionally, gathering data on online shopping habits and engagement rates will improve your digital marketing strategy. Modifying content to provide insightful information about COVID-19 will improve engagement as well as reduce bounce rates.

S = Sensitive

It is crucial to understand the sentiment and mindset of consumers during this vulnerable time. Consumer behaviour during COVID-19 has drastically changed, hence the way we communicate with customers on various platforms should be in an understanding tone. This will reflect the sincerity and sensitivity of the situation while building a greater brand image. The ability to modify tone and key messages shows that you care and want to provide solutions to assist all customers.

Things you should avoid doing during this time:

  • Cramming and pushing sales (hard sell) of a product/service more than needed
  • Choosing not to help customers in the decision-making process of a product
  • Creating pressure when the customer is deciding to purchase a product
  • Not being lenient with payment methods or price reductions

T = Transparent

Strive to keep up with the situation and find the best way to communicate openly and transparently with customers. Consumers may have a lot of questions during this time; best practice would be to calmly reply to each question and provide detailed information and any assistance required.

Inform customers based on client feedback and social listening analysis; this will ensure that your brand is making a positive impact during this difficult time. Letting customers know about the changes your company has made during COVID-19 is a must and demonstrates how you are willing to adapt and help during this challenging time.

R = Rise Above

For many businesses, big and small, the same question is crossing their minds over and over now: ‘How will my business survive this situation and how can I help others?’. Aside from your customers and partners, your own team cannot be overlooked. Most businesses have put in ‘work from home’ (WFH) measures for the safety of their employees. But this does have a direct impact on daily activities and the way a business operates.

To ease the strain, put in place communication and productivity tools for employees, such as co-working sessions and rewards. Similarly, for customers, there should be additional services put in place too, this includes communication platforms, weekly updates and automated customer care processes. Always continue thinking forward!

Challenges that brands must overcome

Almost everyone must ‘stay at home’ at present, and most public places like department stores, shops, restaurants, parks and non-essential services have been closed by government order. As a result, customer behaviour has shifted, as can be seen from the following survey results*.

78% of people believe brands can help their daily lives to be better
Although every brand and product has different target markets, what they have in common is their desire to make themselves indispensable in their customers’ daily lives. The next challenge, particularly for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, is how to get the product safety into the customer’s hands during the COVID-19 lockdown. Maintaining consumer confidence is of the utmost importance, and this can only be done by implementing a Plan B that revolves around high-quality and clean product delivery and A+ before and after-sales service.

92% of people think that brands still need to continue advertising

Why? Because if brands stop advertising, customers will not know whether the business has closed or is still selling their product/service. A better approach is for brands to adjust their advertising strategy during the COVID-19 shutdown, such as reshaping messaging and media so that it is related to the current situation. The goal here is to inform and assist customs in a transparent way, not to put the hard sell on them.

75% of people believe brands should reveal to the public what they are doing

Because your brand may have customers who are eagerly following news related to your business, especially large ones like sporting clubs, airlines and online retailers, you must keep this large consumer/follower base updated on the current situation. For instance, is your business still 100% operational or are there changes and restrictions in place due to COVID-19. You can easily share such information to your customers via online channels.

90% of people have increased media consumption

In the past, people predominantly consumed media via their television. Nowadays, the situation is entirely different. Thanks to advances in technology, people are voraciously consuming media through diverse online channels, especially from their smartphone. Consumers are more connected than ever, using their phones, tablets and desktop computers all day and night to keep abreast of developments as they happen.

76% of people have increased their engagement across social media

One good example of increased social media engagement is TikTok. This application was previously only used by a specific user group (teenagers) but is now surging in popularity across all demographics. That’s because many people find themselves with an abundance of free time on their hands and want a way to both entertain themselves and connect with others. In this way, it is no great surprise to find that advertising in this media space has likewise surged.

99% of people will buy something online if they must stay in isolation 

Everybody knows that ordering things online is super easy. Combined with people’s current glut of downtime at home, it is no great surprise that online shopping is booming. As people cannot go out to browse at their favourite stores, they are naturally turning to the only resources available to them: online shopping. With the bonus being that they can shop from the comfort of the sofa and have the items delivered right to their door.

* Data from IZEA, Campaign Live, Virgin Media and KANTAR.

Every channel is important

Most of the time, when people think about online marketing, they will only focus on social media platforms. However, other online channels are just as important. No matter if your objective is to raise brand awareness, up-sell products or maintain customer relations, we recommend your marketing strategy include other platforms as well, such as SEO. Let’s take a look at which marketing strategies will be the most effective.

SEO

This one is used for delivering quality content and creating value, as well as raising brand awareness. Many brands might think that they should wait until the pandemic ends before investing time and effort in their SEO. We strongly disagree. If this crisis continues for an extended period, and you resume your SEO campaign after it ends, you’ll most likely have to start from scratch and lose all your previous gains in the process. Do not lose valuable momentum and, most importantly, SERP ranking. Continue with your SEO now so that when the crisis is over, you can beat out your competitors in Search.

Media

In terms of media, you should spread content across various platforms, so that you can establish precise and broad consumer communication. As mentioned above, 92% of people still want brands to advertise their products and services to them. Do not shy away from sharing messages about promotions, special offers and new releases. By publishing such information, you will be able to maintain your brand positioning and build customer confidence. You can also use various platforms to maintain a high level of customer care, hugely necessary in this time of uncertainty and fear.

Social Media & Content

The point of sincere content sharing is not only just about selling but rather educating, fostering customer relationships, creating brand awareness and so forth. If your brand is still sharing rich – but culturally and politically sensitive – content during this time, you will be able to maintain consumer trust and expand your community. Think of it this way, now is the perfect opportunity to collect valuable user data. You may find that whole new markets have opened to you during this crisis. Do not overlook any segments when planning for future campaigns.

Build strength from the inside

Like we mentioned at the beginning, in addition to paying attention to a businesses’ customers and partners, your internal team must receive the same level of importance. All employees will be experiencing hardships by working at home, from childminding on the side to having no comfortable office space; everybody suffers by being away from the office in different ways. It is imperative that understanding, flexibility and compassion be promoted from the top-down. To help you and your workers get through this tough time united, we have put together a few guidelines.

Support

There is nothing more beautiful than helping each other out during this tough COVID-19 situation. Your company should make available resources for internal teams to work effectively from home and stay connected. Likewise, a company should provide staff with any tools or technological devices necessary to work remotely.

Connect
The easier employees can communicate with each other, the happier they’ll be. Lots of communication seems to be the most effective way to work with each other during a time like this. Consider switching to a tool like Zoom to conduct a daily, face-to-face team meeting. Don’t underestimate the power of human connection during this enforced time of isolation.

Teach

Are you able to teach new skills to your team? This is an important question that you should ask yourself. Since team members do not have to spend time travelling to and from work, they will have more available work time. Why not use this bonus time to hold additional training and knowledge sharing sessions to develop their skills.

Entertain

Making the ‘work from home’ experience a little bit more fun and less lonely is an excellent way to fend off mental illness and create camaraderie, especially for those employees who might live alone. For example, here at Primal, we have a Zoom Background Theme Challenge every day during our Team Huddle. The team that receives the most votes wins a prize.

 

Nobody wanted the COVID-19 pandemic to happen, but now that it is here, we must manage the situation as best we can. As soon as news of the virus broke and started to make an impact on business, we shifted gears in our marketing communications approach. Our number one priority was to safeguard the welfare of our employees. Our second priority was to make sure business could continue as usual in the service of our clients. If you are seeking an expert digital marketing company to help your business not just survive, but flourish, during this crisis, we are here to help. We can get through this crisis together. Reach out to us today to learn more about our diverse and award-winning digital marketing services.