The current environment presents a list of very challenging questions for transformational marketers:
- How should we think about digital marketing in the age of coronavirus?
- How should we handle content marketing, SEO, and customer relationships in 2021?
- How should we prepare for a post-Covid future?
But a truly key question that ties all these concerns together for the digital marketing industry and e-commerce business is: How will this all impact our digital strategy?
It’s difficult to know right now which communication strategy, regarding consumers but also with things like influencers, you should undertake. Many of us are wondering—what’s next?
So here’s some good advice on digital strategy in a time of crisis, as well as some things to keep in mind.
The World Has Turned to Online Channels Like Never Before
With the global spread of the virus, shopping patterns in almost all industries changed abruptly. With the introduction of health restrictions and physical distancing, consumers have turned to online channels like never before.
We have some unexpected winners and losers in this new market formulation. A completely new atmosphere has been created in which the winners’ club will be joined only by those who recognize the advantages that come with the new online environment.
An Atmosphere of Business Uncertainty Continues …
In the first seven days of the pandemic, the number of search queries on Google for issues such as “marketing during coronavirus” increased by as much as 300%. Business owners around the world were looking for answers.
But each new piece of information only increased uncertainty, as trade supply chains and market demands transformed again and again. For all decision-makers and businesspeople, the situation has become quite trying. Unfortunately for many, it still is.
What’s Next? A Good Answer Actually Exists!
The answer to top-level questions—what to do? what should my digital strategy look like?—depend on how, exactly, Covid-19 has affected your business.
For starters, it’s important not to make the mistake that many are prone to make in such crises. When things go downhill, the first thing one does is ditch the marketing budget. It is expected that the competition will react almost identically.
Warren Buffet, the fourth richest man on the planet, said “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” In other words, find a way to read the situation to your advantage instead of running with the herd.
Active Communication with Clients During a Pandemic Is a Necessity
What should the online content that we place, either on a purposefully designed and customized site or social media, during the pandemic look like? How do we place it adequately and keep the attention of an online audience? How to respond to the crisis? And how, if at all possible, do we improve all channels and prepare them for what ‘s to come?
These are critical issues that plague almost all businesses that strive to keep pace with the race for survival through online channels. Of course, the major respected strategists in our field all agree on one thing: active communication with audiences during a crisis remains a necessity.
A well-designed marketing plan in this period should play a key role in the recovery process. The key elements in this process are the website and social media channels, followed by search engine optimization (SEO) and, most importantly, quality and carefully selected content.
In the initial crisis period, intensify the interaction with content that will distinguish you from others. In the recovery—which is upon us—it is the preparation for the ‘new normal’ that is essential.
Make the Most of Your Site and Social Networks to Inform Your Users
Google recommends displaying pop-up banners on a site that informs visitors of the status of your business. Then update them regarding possible delays in delivery and the like, which will significantly help strengthen the loyalty of your audience.
I also recommended updating your FAQ page with important information. As far as optimization, it’s of course vital that all your data is properly structured so that users can access the site directly through search engine results. SEO at the time of a pandemic remains vital.
Humanize Your Email Communication With Users
With the coronavirus pandemic, most companies have informed users through their newsletters of the steps taken to mitigate potential consequences. In a flood of such information, these messages generally go unnoticed. Many of these emails tend to end up sounding the same, so a creative or even witty approach would make a significant difference. Above all, whether you use humor or not, do some research and put serious thought into how you communicate your updates to your audiences. And don’t forget to mention your financial contributions to local organizations and health efforts during this difficult time—showing that you genuinely care about your community will help audiences care about you.
Update Your Google My Business Profile and Facebook Page
Google created a special category: the Covid-19 Post Category. It allows companies to include changes in how they function during a pandemic, including special working hours during a state of emergency and any information on temporarily closed locations if any.
There are also requests for support and assistance to users, as well as information on special protocols related to hygiene. An almost identical option was made possible by Facebook. Ensure that you, first, are using these appropriately and make sure to update them regularly. This kind of thing is more important than you think, especially now with vaccines on the way (hopefully!) and the world looking anxiously toward a post-covid future.
Take Social Interaction With Social Media Users to the Next Level
Always encourage direct communication with users. You can use video or photo posts or maybe even live videos. Some brands create new ‘how-to’ posts to get even more interest from old and potential new users in the services and products they provide.
Include, of course, strong messaging about social distancing and prevention, but also let audiences know that you are still available to them. You’ll be surprised by how much they care about this!
Post-Covid Strategy and Preparation for the New Normal
One thing is for sure, everything that follows the pandemic will be shaped in many ways by transformed. Preparation is necessary. Especially for those who are eager to regain their business positions, keep old ones, and gain new clients.
Here’s a list of tips:
- When creating content, try to answer the question: “Will this help my audience?”
- Be available to your customers for any additional questions, suggestions, and needs.
- Prepare to adapt to the new emergencies and future crises, and let audiences know about it.
- Identify content that will bring new value.
- Use the best data and information in customer support.
- Continue to create content that will improve SEO.
- Update your FAQ page.
- Introduce duplicate content controls to avoid inadequate or sensitive topics.
- Create campaigns that will bring you new online followers or increase your community.
Above all, ask yourself: What information does my audience really need? Shape your digital strategy for the post-crisis era accordingly, update your online channels, and think about taking a new approach to content.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to get back in the game to win in the post-COVID era, subscribe to the TopRight blog! Or connect with me on Twitter and on LinkedIn. If you’re still on a quest for more marketing insight, pick up copies of our latest books: Strategic Analytics and Marketing, Interrupted.