So, Digital Marketing, should your brand still be actively marketing during the Covid-19 outbreak, lockdown and subsequent return to ‘normality’ and possible economic slowdown… In short, YES!
More people are online than ever now and are also becoming warier in general of personal interactions – however this doesn’t mean that they have lost interest in the businesses around them. In some cases, enforced time alone has given people more opportunities to make Google searches and research potential items to buy, this also includes the possibility of entirely new purchases they had not considered before. There has been a 400% raise in ‘ways to support a small business’ searches on Pinterest alone, confirming there is definitely a market out there to continue to engage with.
Recent research has shown consumers did not think that brands should stop advertising all together during the corona virus crisis. However, being sensitive to the current pandemic in items that are being posted is obviously the key, being mindful that then its messaging must be supportive of local charitable organisations, local and national government and of course the NHS, while staying true to brand values. The surge in support for small local business and the highlight on their adaptability is also creating a ‘buzz’ on social media.
Whilst many people don’t want to think about the virus all of the time, as it can create a feeling of being bombarded by negativity, it is a mistake to try to ignore it. You may have noticed that many ads you see are related to the pandemic, and this is because it is at the forefront of everyone’s minds all the time. Mentioning it isn’t compounding the negativity or fear, it helps people to feel connected to the brand – demonstrating that you do know and understand their situation.
Successful marketing means always being willing to adapt and change with the circumstances. Make your offers relevant to what your target market is going through right now, what they will need moving forward, and what they are most likely to want to spend money on. If consumers feel that you understand their situation this will help create brand affinity and ensure that possible new customers trust your brand over others.
Digital Marketing Strategy
The sudden increase of people socially distancing and spending the majority of their time indoors has led to a change in lifestyle where consumers have shifted to spending more time online than ever before. Highstreet and other types of physical businesses are feeling the effects of the virus and companies are announcing cutbacks one after another, online business are making the most of the situation. Businesses that have relied heavily on their physical presence or footfall are being most affected, the need to adapt their business model to weather the corona storm is paramount.
Working smarter, not harder would seem to be a possible solution. If you’ve had to delay a product launch, campaign or pause your content plan, don’t be afraid to edit and repurpose older content to keep up your presence online. Trying to come up with brand new creative assets and ideas requires a grasp on the ongoing situation that most of us do not have, use what you already have as a start point. Try refreshing the language and showing a sense of community in with your older posts to create a current message that is appropreate.
The most important factor of the pandemic is obviously the health of the population, but there are far more people affected than merely the sick. By acknowledging the affects the pandemic, economic shut down and mental health affects the situation is having on your client base (both existing and prospective) will create a shared narrative and enhance the trust in your brand.
There are some things and themes that will need to be modified of course – there is no way you could continue to market a live event for example. Modifying your marketing is key to survival at this stage both during the crisis itself and for the likely tough economic times that will follow.
Social Media Marketing
Social distancing means that for a large proportion of the country is in confines of their own home, whether that is furlough, working from home or home schooling. During the lockdown thus far people have been embracing social media with an unprecedented rise in screen time, an increase of 25% in engagement on Instagram alone in the past month.
If you’ve not already done so, pressing stop on all scheduling will be advisable, however stopping scheduled posts doesn’t mean throwing them away entirely, eventually the post corona world will return to a more ‘normal’ focus and the conversations will shift back to your more familiar point of view. Spending some time on the platforms to really dig into your audience’s conversations and interests, working out what applicable trending topics and what platforms your potential audience is using. Using your own intuitive social listening skills to inform your posts content, instead of scheduling and using tools, at this stage of a fast moving situation we would suggest posting within platform this will enable you to tailor a message to fit that moment in time.
One of the other things we would suggest considering when using social media for marketing is that people are not online at necessarily the same time that they were before the Corona outbreak. Working has changed for many people and remote working means that people are working at different times and in different ways. If your social media scheduling has always relied on a 9-to-5 audience, it is worth considering that your potential clients are likely to be online at a different time and for more extended periods of time.
To find out the best times for your brands particular posting by testing out new posts at various times during the day. Traditional posting tools and scheduling algorithms have yet to catch up with this ‘new normal’. Taking time to listen to the mood of your audience before publishing allows you to make your content more relevant and post at a time when it’s most likely to be seen.
Utilise or Improve PPC
It probably depends on your industry but if you are an online business – or a business with an online offering – now could be the perfect time to increase your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
More people than ever are on the internet, giving a greater chance for your ads to appear before relevant consumers – this could give you a tremendous competitive advantage. This needs to be tempered depending on your industry, travel and tourism for example will struggle to turn leads in to sales as the uncertainty of when we will be able to move around freely is still very much a factor in people booking holidays and trips abroad.
However, this is an excellent time for firms wanting to stand out from their competitors in specific sectors which are still trading during the lockdown, especially if firms can deliver these digitally.
As many firms are slashing advertising and marketing spends the average pay per clock costs has dropped by over 50% across the board, which means that for those who do continue with their campaigns, they get to enjoy leads at significantly lower costs than before.
So, rather than pausing your campaigns altogether, a renewed strategy might be to try and leverage this lower cost by reducing your spending and getting more effective bang for your buck.
Utilising the ‘Overview’ section of your Google Ads dashboard, you can see a Day & Hour chart, which you can adjust to see what day and hour of the week you tend to get the most conversions.
By focusing on the top 2-3 days and times you decide to either exclude other days from your campaigns or reduce the bids on those days so you still appear, but your spend will be much less on those days.
One of the most valuable pieces of information when considering your PPC budget is the keyword-level performance. By interrogating how much you have been paying for your clicks compared to what the market rates are you can determine where the smart spending is.
You can also find several opportunities to make smart spending decisions at a keyword level by analyzing your target keywords, Narrowing down which keywords/ phrases are resulting in lower cost conversions make the most sense to focus a tight budget on whilst reducing the spend on the ones that are costing you more.
For more help navigating the Digital Marketing world please contact our team.