As times and circumstances change amidst the pandemic, so do the way marketers do their jobs. Of course, this is to be expected as everyone’s priorities have taken a complete 360. No one has anticipated the ordeal the world would be facing this year. But it happened, and now, people’s focus has shifted from travel goals and getting new rides to making sure their families are safe and protected.
Consumers’ spending habits have drastically changed, too, and it’s obvious to marketers that the strategies formulated at the beginning of the year are no longer going to work – at least not in the way everyone hoped.
While everyone’s coming to grips with their new realities, you might also be wondering whether it’s right to continue marketing brands right now. According to a recent survey by Kantar, 92 percent of consumers believe brands should not stop advertising because of the pandemic. It’s also worth noting that only 41 percent agree that you should avoid a humorous approach to marketing brands presently and 74 percent maintain that companies should not exploit the current situation.
So how can you reach your marketing goals and improve conversion rate during this pandemic? Here are some dos and don’ts that you should consider.
What You Should Do
● Put Automated Message on Hold If They Don’t Make Sense Right Now
If there’s one thing marketers should really take to heart right now, it’s sensitivity. Always consider what the world is going through and what your customers’ situations might be. That means all those enticing newsletters you were set on sending with messages like ‘how a new pair of luxury shoes is what they need for their next vacay’ would probably not be appreciated by your customers.
● Remember to Stay Human
So this one is something that you should be applying at all times, but especially now when people are more vulnerable, scared, and unsure of the future. What you need is for people to see that what you are promoting is more than a brand or a business. Also, if there’s ever a time for your brand to reach out and give back, it is today. Go ahead and do your part in helping your employees and your community get through this crisis.
● Keep People Informed
Here’s the thing – keeping your customers informed of any significant changes that a brand is facing, whether it’s positive or negative is important. For instance, if you are an e-commerce business and you are anticipating delays in shipping services, or if you are offering your customers major discounts that they can take advantage of, then go ahead and send an email, post on your social media, or simply have a banner on your website.
Providing valuable information to your customers is especially important if the brand belongs in an industry that people depend on for essentials or it’s been affected by the pandemic.
● Make the Most of Your Owned Media to Grow Your Presence
If a business has been affected by the pandemic, it’s understandable if there’s a need to make some budgetary adjustments for ads and marketing. That doesn’t mean you will just wait until there’s money to spend again. There’s so much you can do, especially with the media that you own, including your blogs, emails, and more.
It’s a good time for you to come up with amazing content especially because most people have more time to read and engage with your brand. It’s also a great opportunity to improve conversion rate without having to spend too much.
● Check if Any of Your Current or Upcoming Marketing Campaigns Has Any Less Than Appropriate Message
Review all the content you were planning to use and assess whether or not they would be appropriate, given the current situation. You wouldn’t want to launch a campaign that would appear inappropriate or insensitive to what many are going through. There might be some themes that would work perfectly under normal circumstances but might not be particularly appropriate while COVID-19 is still a threat to us all.
One example is Hershey’s campaign that encouraged people to share chocolates as well as handshakes and hugs with other people. While this is indeed a positive message and a wonderful sentiment any other time, it absolutely won’t work during the pandemic when social distancing is encouraged. Hershey’s replaced that specific campaign with one that focused more on their products.
● Lend a Hand and Offer Value
Brands always talk about social responsibility and fulfilling the purpose of serving not only their customers but their communities and employees as well. This is the best time for you to show everyone that your brand keeps its promise. As millions of people file for unemployment benefits, the focus on caring for employees has been heightened.
Consumers are taking note of these things. They show support to brands that have responded and done their part. There are brands that have momentarily stopped production of their usual products to use their resources for necessities like alcohol, sanitizers, PPEs, and more, and then donated them to hard-hit communities and hospitals, among others.
Now you don’t have to produce those things exactly, but there are always ways to show support and it’s up to you to find out how you can lend a hand during these tough times.
● Think About Utilizing Paid Tactics
There’s nothing wrong with spending money to reap the benefits of using paid tactics, more so if that means you’ll be able to deliver content that has something to do with COVID-19 and if it’s crucial that your audience receives relevant information from you.
If, for instance, you have an upcoming event or a new product that you would have to cancel or postpone, the use of paid tactics to boost your posts will ensure that you do right by your customers, too.
● Look Far Ahead in the Future
It may be hard right now to look beyond all these dark gray clouds and you might be thinking about focusing on just the here and now, take one day at a time. While there’s nothing wrong with dealing with things as they’re thrown at you, you have to think long-term, too. Always think about how your decisions would impact your business in the long run. Instead of making changes in your marketing efforts that could potentially affect you negatively in the future, focus on how you can make your audience’s life better or at least how you can improve a day of their life. Focusing on helping your employees and other people as good deeds today resonates well for years.
● Make the Switch From Live Events to Webinars and Video Conferences
It can be frustrating when you’ve spent months planning a live event for a brand then realize that you can’t actually hold it. That doesn’t mean you need to cancel things. Video conferences and webinars have been used for years now and they do work, too – so it’s time that you consider making the switch, at least while it’s not safe to hold live events.
● Consider Rearranging Your Budget
The way businesses are run has certainly changed with the pandemic necessitating almost everyone to make tweaks to their budgets. If you had to cancel marketing activities, that could mean you have some extra funds right now that you can use to produce more content and ultimately increase traffic to your website.
What You Should NOT Do
● Don’t Say Goodbye to Paid Ads Completely
There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t let go of all of the paid advertising that you have right now. One of those is that you want the benefits of those paid tactics once things pick up again. Having none in place could leave you behind in the race. So just be smart about it and keep doing those that have proven their worth.
● Don’t Be a Sponge If It’s Just For Clicks
There are some instances when you can make the most of a situation so you’re guaranteed clicks. This is not one of those times. The world is devastated by this pandemic and it’s completely inappropriate to take advantage of the fear and desperation of many just to gain clicks.
● Don’t Paint Yourself as Opportunistic
The worst thing that you can do as a marketer or a business owner right now is to come across to your audience as someone who sees the COVID-19 pandemic as a trend that you can milk. People do want to see brands rise and take action but you are going to receive some backlash if they feel like you are capitalizing on one of the worst problems the world has ever had to deal with.
● Don’t Neglect Your Social Media Accounts
It’s true that the whole world is tuned in to the latest news regarding the pandemic and it sure has dominated everyone’s newsfeeds. While there’s nothing wrong about sharing information about the pandemic that you think your audience would benefit from, you shouldn’t set aside your own social media posts.
People need a break from unsettling news every now and then, and it would be great for them to know that they can still rely on brands like yours to provide them with what they need.
● Don’t Forget to Keep Your Google My Business Updated
If you have a brick and mortar shop, you want to make sure that your customers know the current state of your operations. Whether you’ve partially re-opened, or are still limiting operations online, make sure your customers can find that information on all your communication channels.
● Don’t Keep the Pretense That Things Are Back to Normal
It won’t help your business if you market your brand like nothing out of the normal is happening around you. In all the things you do, be compassionate to how the current situation might be affecting different people. Don’t ignore the pandemic like it’s not happening because that won’t translate well with your audience.
● Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
No matter how experienced one is as a marketer, they could still feel challenged and frustrated as they have never had to deal with this kind of situation. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone for help. In fact, it could be helpful if you could designate a few tasks you have on your plate to other people on your team so you can focus more on more important tasks.
● Don’t Be Caught Unprepared and Without a Plan
Canceling live events means losing a significant number of new leads, right? Not if you have a plan in place. Remember that there are a number of digital approaches that you can try if you need to generate more leads. Using content to get people to visit your site and launching an email campaign may not exactly be as effective as meeting customers face to face but you can still generate leads with them.
● Don’t Be Stingy
Some brands might be worried about sales dropping and things like that but that’s no reason for you not to do what you can to at least lighten the burden of your customers right now. Even if it’s something as simple as offering discounts or giving them free access to some of your services, it would mean a great deal to them.
The situation that everyone is in is uncharted territory. If you feel like you don’t know how you are going to get through it and how you are going to ensure that your brand stays afloat, do refer to the dos and don’ts above to help get you back on track.
Also, remember that the setbacks are not only faced by marketers and brands but by almost every industry. If there are instances when you feel unsure about a decision you have to make, always think about the welfare of your customers, your employees, and your community.