How Your Business Marketing Can Be Ahead of The Curve Post Lock Down and After COVID-19
The global pandemic of 2020 has turned the economies of major nations on their heads. Our high-streets fell silent, major multinationals had to furlough vast swathes of their workforce, car factories swapped their offering to support the health services by producing ventilators, for almost all of us life changed completely overnight.
As the second half of this year unfolds, the detrimental impact on the economy is becoming increasingly evident and many businesses are suffering – even stalwarts of the UK economy are talking about large scale redundancies.
The marketing industry has not escaped this trend, in recent surveys more than 35% of surveyed agencies reported that COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on their day to day business, and worryingly 4% of agencies are reporting an almost full stop on all their campaigns.
Corona virus is not the only issue that consumers have had to deal with, the prospect of not earning or reduced wages – despite the UK governments generous furlough and self-employment schemes – has left many consumers not only feeling isolated, it has also led to reduced spending, not only on the high street but online too. This reduction in spending has impacted consumer behaviour and therefore pay per click campaign performance – many companies have consequently significantly shrunk their marketing budgets to try to compensate for this decline in sales.
Despite these current tough times, now is the perfect time for your business to work on your marketing strategy and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as strong as possible.
Spending the time now working on your long-term strategy will pay dividends later.
Evaluate your current position and what you want to achieve
Cutting back on your marketing spend is not the only way to save money on marketing, allocating your marketing resources more wisely will save money whilst increasing revenue.
Planning is essential to maximise the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and collecting data is key. By understanding your audience, you can carefully target your messages, therefore spending your budget wisely. Understanding who your customer is, what they regularly buy, who they’re buying from and what they’ve been spending their money on during the pandemic will help you create solutions to your prospective customer’s needs.
Media planning, paid search, and SEO have been the digital marketing areas that have suffered most during the pandemic – now is time to start collecting customer data to better target your messages and spending.
We have previously written about the best ways to create and curate customer data, utilising marketing automation software may well be a low-cost solution to this issue.
Refine Your Marketing Message
How you talk to your customers is essential when marketing your products and services, those brands who can empathise with the consumer especially during and immediately after the pandemic will undoubtedly be more successful.
Marketing or brand messaging is all about what you’re trying to convey and how you will convey it. Your message can be conveyed in a myriad of ways; from website copy, blogs, email marketing, videos and vlogs or social media posts, now, more than ever, it’s essential that you get the tone and message right.
Research undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic on the impact of the current situation on large organisations showed that companies have had to adapt to engage consumers in new ways. Half of the organisations surveyed had adapted and innovated with new marketing messaging and branding. The data also showed that the success of this determined that they are very inclined to take their new approaches into the post-outbreak period.
There’s no reason those small businesses can’t also refine their marketing to create a consumer-centric message, in fact small businesses across the country have shown their ability to adapt during the pandemic. This adaptability has not only kept many small businesses going but has also supported communities and charities, – this in turn increased the visibility of the brand. There will still be further adaptations to make, for example some of your website and marketing copy may seem inappropriate following the pandemic, it’s essential to remove anything that may come across as insensitive.
Always keeping an eye on your competitors is essential – by monitoring which channels your competitors are pushing their marketing efforts; helps you determine how you will push yours, assess what’s creating engagement and even more importantly what isn’t! By assessing what your competitors’ message is and what they are actively publicising helps you define your message. You certainly don’t want to be doing the same as everyone else but equally you need to be aware of what seems to be carrying well for other people.
Historically we have valued in-house content better than hiring a freelancer or two to create a deliverable message. This is generally not the case; in the same way that you might do a good job painting your hallway, the chances are a professional will do a far better job.
During quarantine, practically everything has been created “in-house” however hiring a specialist at this stage in preparation for the post COVID-19 period will inevitably create a more professional image, with the added bonus that (unless your business is marketing!), you can get back to your ‘proper’ job!
Content creation can be anything from graphics, adverts, social media content, blogs, vlogs and website copy. Having high quality content will boost your search engine rankings, which in turn increases traffic to your business. Outsourcing your content creation can drastically reduce your marketing budget, spending less hours thus allowing you to distribute funds elsewhere. Freelancers and specialists are proven to be more productive and innovative.
Disregarding SEO is a mistake!
Despite the fact SEO spending has declined as a knee jerk reaction to marketing budgets being slashed cutting SEO efforts is a long term mistake. During the first half of 2020 there’s been a titanic shift in how consumers spend during the pandemic, support for small local retailers increased by 15% during the pandemic. It doesn’t just apply to food retail; fitness equipment and DIY sales are also up due to people being confined to their homes.
But how do you translate this to post COVID-19 marketing? There are some simple fixes!
Focusing on keywords and making sure that your website is up to scratch by taking advantage of all the tools available to you. That means updating and evaluation of your keywords, ensuring your local directory listings are up to date, meta data tagging, website indexing and security.
Ensuring your social media and blogging are regular will also help with the overall performance of your website and post COVID-19 marketing, going from silence to full on shouting your message isn’t ideal. If you have put your marketing on hold until this is “all over” or “we are back to normal” we suggest starting now, with a sensitive targeted message. Customers knowing you are still there and in business is enough at this stage, aim to build your message week on week. Use this time to provide value through blog posts and social media which do not have a strong sales focus but remain sensitively on brand.
The pandemic has been and continues to be a difficult time for businesses large and small, the important thing to take away from this is that your customers lives, and interactions have changed dramatically. If you are to continue to market your brand effectively you need to demonstrate understanding, empathy whilst keeping awareness of you and your business. Taking time to work on your long-term strategy, website design, copy, brand message and SEO will help to reinforce your businesses position in the long term.
At drop_ we provide fully managed SEO and digital marketing services, if you feel you need help marketing during this period (and beyond!) please contact us to find out more details of our available services.