The entire world has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Along with impacting human life, the pandemic crisis has started impacting the global business and economy. Now it's become a challenge for the marketers to manage the crisis and at the same time plan for the future. Industries are not able to operate effectively in this challenging situation. This has made marketing more critical and complex than ever for many businesses.
We can already see a behavioral shift, people are spending more time at home and browsing the internet more frequently. As customers are staying indoors–and apparently online–digital marketing may well be a brand's best antidote against this time. Companies can prepare marketing plans for the economic recovery from the downturn.
Digital marketing is one of the better strategies and acts as a safeguard for brands. They are operating successfully with a bit less cost.
Digital marketing is a safety measure due to its agility and better performance in business domains. Since people are quarantined now, there will be more eyeballs browsing online than ever before so people will be consuming more digital content on all fronts.
However, we can follow a few steps to prepare marketing activity during the crisis.
We need to work smarter and be ready to tackle the challenges ahead and retain existing customers. This is a unique time, when a small charisma can result in huge gains for business. Truly this is not the time to panic. Be calm and it's the time to place business at the frontline of the next economic recovery. Many big companies are using smart marketing and advertising campaigns to promote positivity and communicate important messages.
It is essential to keep in touch with customers to not lose them. It's always cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.
People are spending more time online now more than ever. From students to adults; everyone is glued to social media right now! With increased reach, engagement and time spent on social platforms, it would not be wise for a business to pause their social media efforts. Rather, put brand(s) in front of where the target audience is already browsing. Also connect with customers like never before with compassion and empathy. To start an awareness campaign that may inspire, ignite people to cope with the current situation. Mobile phones are being swiftly considered as a strong medium to connect digitally. Healthcare and retail sector will have a huge shift in consumer behavioral and buying patterns will change.
As the saying goes, 'Out of sight is out of mind'. It's a great opportunity for businesses to improve their online visibility and promote their products and services to attract more customers. Get more attention in front of the existing and potential clients.
Plan to build brand awareness and get more visibility, which means driving visitors to the website to capture future sales. And one of the best times to get found by potential clients is when they're searching for what companies are selling, ensuring that they can find at every point of the purchasing lifecycle. Just be sure to adjust strategies and marketing mix with this new reality. We can put dynamic, animated digital advertising messages or small length AV in local LED Out of Home properties.
Re-focus brand to connect with and be relevant to consumers. A low cost, high impact digital marketing technique can be focused to optimize rate of conversions. Small incremental changes to the user journey will turn more website browsers into customers. Share social proof and post positive stories about the business. Customer experience is king, so invest in the website to ensure providing a fast and customized information. Consumers are likely to recall brands that are responsive in the crisis.
There is no one-size-fits-all method in the digital marketing domain. Consumer sentiments and behavior has changed. Be strategic when planning, consider long term. When this all blows over and business is back to normal, get that plan in place without any delay and start planning for the comeback story.
Be pragmatic when shaping the responses, get into the machine learning and artificial intelligence that will give businesses competitive advantage and access to the right prospective customers at the right time. Taking advantage of current developments in AI (Artificial Intelligence), BI (Business Intelligence) will drag down cost per acquisition by leveraging technical innovations in Marketing.
Measuring means tracking marketing spend. Brands need to be measured against success criteria such as need to measure sales, numbers of hit, queries, numbers of lead, or referrals etc. During crisis time to ensure key performance indicators by Google Analytics, evaluating social media ROI is helpful. As the saying goes – 'If you don't measure, then you can't manage'. And if you're not managing, then you could be pouring money down the drain. When budgets get tight, you need to make tough decisions on how you are going to spend resources for media uses and advertising efficiently.
'Necessity is the mother of invention'. In any crisis we need to be nimble and creative. Measure success and learn from the experiment. If marketing budgets are tight, then knowing what works makes it easier to make the decision of where to invest. Whatever experiment we do; it should be quick, cheap, and easy to deliver. Marketing leaders need to think like an investor and be creative and committed to use various digital channels.
Be on Google
Advertising on Google also helps in keeping the brand relevant to the target audience. it's better to present to the target audience through Google advertising! Pay Per Click would be good for cost efficient lead generation. Online news paper is getting popular in the crisis, so it is high time to put advertisements on these platforms.
The real opportunity is for e-commerce marketers to really focus on developing transparent messaging across the board. Most of the online commerce is diverted on to online groceries.
If we want to stay in the minds of our clients, we need to be proactive during the economic slowdown. That means keeping messages fresh and reminding clients that the business is still in the game. Ensuring the delivery of the right message to the right person at the right time can reduce waste.
Brands that provide accurate information about the coronavirus and its impact on operations stand to deepen existing connections and build long-term trust and confidence. Drive with positive intentions for redefining their loyalty.
Be web friendly
SEO can help to become web friendly. Find a way to give businesses the best chance to stay flooded by making websites easily found online through a strategic SEO strategy.
In a recession period, competitors most probably will do the obvious thing and cut or eliminate their SEO budgets. Their rankings will hold for a few weeks and then start to slip as Google's algorithms begin to recognize that there's nothing new or interesting happening on their site. Every time a site drops in rankings, another one moves up. So, don't cut the SEO budget because it will eventually help to reach customers in a more cost-efficient and quicker way .
And finally, focusing digital marketing efforts in this coronavirus epidemic will help to stay ahead of competitors and improve online presence. By reimagining the future, marketers can get ahead of the next normal, even if they are not ready to invest in paid advertising, business can still grow by implementing organic marketing techniques. These techniques are not just meant for today, they are for long term benefits for business.
When the economy seems to be crashing, competitors are usually going to hibernation mode; its' time to re-think, re-adjust, re-define and upgrade marketing efforts by following the above tips, to get ahead of them all. Marketers now have an ample opportunity to enhance the digital communication and deliver great experiences at each point of the customer journey. In this digital emergence, organizations need to be ready for this marketing's new normal than the traditional marketing thought process.
Business can still flourish with simple demand supply economics which exist, if marketers are willing to try the new approaches, be agile and not to shrink away from marketing during this critical time.
As the new normal demands new marketing tactics, therefore, be prepared with a reliable omni channel digital marketing model and get ready to scale up marketing efforts with a positive attitude and make a massive come back to face the new reality by embracing the power of digital marketing. So, everyone can look forward to a better tomorrow.
The writer is a business marketer.