Although there is so much uncertainty in the world right now, we still need to have a planned (but flexible) approach for our businesses to help survive this tumultuous time.

The approach needs to be sensitive, and our marketing efforts should be helpful rather than purely self-serving. There are many opportunities to connect with our target markets in meaningful ways during this time though, and to continue to be relevant.

People are online more than ever before so we know we can be where the eyeballs are. What you do now will not only influence your brand perception long after this pandemic is behind us, but may form part of your ongoing digital strategy.

As tech entrepreneur, Co-founder & CEO of SparkToro and Co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin has reported:

A digital marketing strategy for these unique times

The most important first step is to have a COVID-19 digital marketing strategy in place. And this needs to be one that considers and acknowledges that the whole world is experiencing this crisis and everything is being seen with a Coronavirus lens – for now anyway.

We expect that will be the case for the next couple of months at least, then hopefully we will move on to a place where everyone has transitioned to life online and accepted that as the new way to live for a while, then sometime early next year we hope to see the worst of the pandemic over and a transition to the new normal.

When it comes to your COVID-19 digital marketing strategy you need to consider:

  • What’s the objective of your digital activity over the next weeks and months? What are you trying to achieve?
  • What’s your proposition? What are you wanting to communicate?
  • How can you communicate in ways that are sensitive to the crisis and helpful to people as they navigate this uncertain time?
  • Who are you targeting? I.e. age, location, interests.
  • How are you going to do it? I.e. tools and channels.
  • How is activity going to be measured and reported?
  • What tools can help you implement, monitor and optimise activity?
  • How will you adjust your digital marketing strategy as we move from everything being dominated by COVID-19, to an adjustment to life online, to a new normal when the pandemic ends?

Tips & tricks

  1. Update your digital assets – Ensure your digital channels are up to date to help communicate any changes in operations as a result of COVID-19 (i.e. hours, service delivery, safety protocols etc). This includes website, email lists, social media accounts, Google listings, online directories etc.
  2. Check your analytics – Ensure your website analytics are set up and check them regularly. Schedule an automated Google Analytics report to be sent to your inbox daily, weekly or at least monthly. You need to know what people are doing on your digital channels to help inform next steps. This will allow you to understand what sources are resulting in the most traffic, enquiries or sales, so you can leverage this. Also ensure all digital tracking is set up for the platforms you intend to use (e.g. Facebook Pixel).
  3. Reassess and reallocate your marketing budget – If you were planning to invest in traditional media, advertising or events before COVID, divert this budget into other channels such as digital marketing. You’ll be where the eyeballs are, and be able to track results with the click of a button and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  4. Find new ways – Look for ways to engage your audience online through virtual offers, consults or experiences. What traditionally would be done via face to face with stakeholders can be done digitally via video. You don’t need to have a professional videographer to produce great video, you just need a few accessories (e.g. tripod, clip-on lens and microphone). Find new ways for media too – what would traditionally be done via press releases, media events, can be done digitally. Use social media to engage journos and influencers who have an active online presence
  5. Stay connected – Remain top of mind through email marketing which is cheap and effective. Be mindful that your audience are receiving a lot of communication right now via email though. You should be strategic and concise, and only send out critical, meaningful messages. Plus, all emails should be optimised for mobile screens.
  6. Get live – Try Facebook and Instagram Live. Look for ways to offer your products or services online through social media.
  7. Focus on re-marketing campaigns – With increased internet browsing, now is a good time to engage those who have previously visited your website. Use digital advertising to re-market and get them back to your website with a reminder or special offer.
  8. Ask for reviews and testimonials – If you’re able to continue to provide services during COVID-19 then don’t forget to ask for reviews so you can continue to improve customer experience. Note: Google announced that they have paused new reviews and review replies. Customers can still leave reviews, but they won’t display on the Google My Business profile.
  9. Ask for ideas and insights – Empower your audience to share their experiences, questions and feedback. People are isolated and want to connect. Take the opportunity to ask your customers and stakeholders what they want to hear about. It could be via a social media poll, Facebook Live, social media competition etc. Use this information to understand how needs are changing and how your business can adapt.

Useful tools

Mention – Online listening tools can be extremely helpful to keeping you informed every time someone mentions your organisation online or specific keywords. Internet usage is up, and people are having more conversations online. Try a free account to see if it delivers value:

Facebook Live / Instagram Live – Connect and engage with your social media followers in real time.

Zoom/Teams video conferencing – Conduct live video meetings with staff, suppliers, clients, customers and stakeholders. Record training sessions and share them with clients.

Google Drive / Dropbox – Great tools for sharing large files.

Need help with your digital marketing?

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