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Covid-19 has presented uncertainty for consumers and businesses alike. We have all been impacted by the unprecedented volatility in behavioural changes, financial considerations and most importantly, public safety precautions. Many companies are finding themselves a little perplexed as to what marketing strategy they should be following during the pandemic, or in some cases, if they should cease such activities until there is more certainty within their industry. Although the future of ‘normal’ life is unknown, those who roll with the punches will be left in an empowered position of stability to start rebuilding their brand when the virus disperses. 

Consumer Behaviour Changes

In this current climate, consumer behaviour and demand are constantly evolving based on personal circumstances and in order to stay relevant your business must follow suit. Many people have cut back on discretionary spending for fear of the unknown. However, optimism has grown through the release of the UK government scheme including Furlough retention scheme, business loans and the US stimulus package now coming into effect. This means further change lies ahead, this time with a more positive outlook. 

As people have embraced social distancing, surveys have shown that users are spending up to 30% more online than usual. 13% of those studied are open to discovering new brands. Therefore, it is time to make a decision about whether you have the capacity to seize this opportunity while it is present. An often overlooked but vital consideration is habit. It takes 66 days to develop a new habit so that it becomes second nature. The new habit we are developing is shop online as a first response. This new habit will have a long term effect and will further increase online sales long after COVID.

A sense of community has been derived through the past few weeks, with nations pulling together in support of the key workers and each other. Accompanied by the high impact of the closure of local eateries, this has resulted in a ‘local’ based, supportive mindset. People are being exposed to the struggle small local businesses are experiencing and thus, opting to support them where possible. Therefore, if your business is locally based, it might be a good opportunity to drum up support for both loyal and new local brand fans. 

Adaptable Product/Service Offering

It is important to dissect your particular industry and how it is being impacted by the current climate to make an informed decision on your marketing efforts. For example, one industry that is thriving from the lockdown, are products that compliment DIY projects – this ranges from gardening, home decorating, crafts plus much more. People are finding projects to occupy their time to cure boredom. Brands that compliment a self-isolation situation are eligible to acquire new leads, with an audience that has never listened so intently before.

Those who are not lucky enough to fall within the promising industries should not give up hope. There are several instances you can take to still remain at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Many companies have been adapting their product and service offerings to complement the demand of the population, such as training providers moving their resources online, entertainment venues offering live videos and restaurants changing their operation to offer delivery services. Maybe you already have a product/service that people require in your offering which you need to highlight more evidently to appeal to current customer trends. This might not necessarily fall in line with your previous business projections, but is necessary to ensure cash flow is a continual occurrence during this turbulent time. 

The worst-case scenario is that your product is redundant and unadaptable to the needs of your audiences presently, and you will need to have, and promote a long term vision to tempt people to invest in your brand when it is safe to do so. You could be using this time to generate brand awareness and engage in conversation, with those likely to qualify for your offerings to best place you for when decisions can be made. Keep in mind, expensive/high commitment decisions are just delayed, not canceled, therefore creating a pipeline of future interest will give you a head start when your business begins to rebuild to normality. 

Choice of Brand Voice

Following a change in demand, it calls for a change in the solution: brand positioning. There is no coincidence that charitable giving has seen an increase of 20% in conversion rates. We have all been watching with awe in our eyes whilst Captain Tom Moore completes his walk for the NHS. A level of kindness is expected of commercial activity too. Corporate responsibility is heightened with some businesses generating respect from their generosity. No matter your business size, it is important to feel involved in a community of like-minded individuals. Many businesses have been paying their respects through public communication on their website and owned social media. The more generous and able amongst us have been able to offer exclusive keyworker discounts and donations during the past few weeks. No matter the size of the token, make sure if your brand is standing out, it is doing so for the right reasons. Those being viewed to exploit and deemed as being “insensitive” to the spread of Covid-19, will be greeted with a damning response.

Although this time period should be taken with utmost seriousness, most people are finding ways to distract themselves through the use of comedy and entertainment. This could be through the likes of funny memes, videos, and activities, which have proven to generate huge exposure. If you can leverage such attention and utilise enjoyment in your content, do so tastefully, as a way to stay connected with your customers and content they would be happy to share with friends and family for greater reach.

Additionally to this, distracting attention away from Covid-19 may be your best approach, as studies reveal the number of engagements with Covid-19 themed content is plateauing following a steady decline from the week commencing 23rd March 2020. 

Strategic Brand Placement 

Brand placement will need to be considered to ensure your brand can generate interaction. This needs to be carefully decided based on the demand in the market, the nature of your industry and the budgetary allowance that you have decided upon. 

Many Ecommerce businesses are ceasing the opportunity of increased E-commerce transactions and taking this time to improve their presence on Google Shopping. Whereas some are creating brand presence using the 50% growth on the Facebook messenger platform to start engaging higher volumes. Others are opting to improve their organic ranking through rich entertaining, yet informative content, or utilising their local area presence to continue providing their goods/service safely. 

Your Digital Marketing will need ongoing assessment, for the foreseeable future, beyond the Covid-19 outbreak. It is now more important than ever to fine-tune your strategy to tactfully encourage positive interaction with your brand. A dynamic approach is a must to promptly react to opportunities presented and retract from negative declines in your market, as buying behaviour remains erratic. Regardless of your dedicated budget, some presence must be maintained in order not to fall silent.

“Now is not the time to talk about marketing”

A phrase on the tip of many business owners tongues. However, now is actually the most appropriate time to talk about the future of your marketing strategy. 

We are steadily seeing government incentives coming through, which is allowing the opportunity for businesses with previous worries about cash flow, to re-invest in their position within the digital environment. Depending on your particular product/service offering now may actually be a pivotal moment to generate market share amongst your competition or risk losing your place, which may have long term repercussions. 

Reports are showing those holding steady within their digital space, are now starting to experience improved conversion rates by up to 5%. With users generally having more time on their hands to gather information on services, and more confidence in their future finances to purchase online.  However, with click costs rising due to everyone becoming reliant on online businesses, it is important to be mindful of the strategy you take in order to seize this opportunity, rather than needlessly pay more than you ought to acquire leads. 

If you would like a tailored marketing plan, irrespective of how small or large your budget is, Click Convert is here to help generate you some stability in the most unstable of times.

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    I am the leading voice behind Click Convert’s blog and active PPC Team Leader. At Click Convert,  we’re one of the top digital marketing companies in America and the UK for small and medium Businesses. We’re a Google Premier Partner and a Google Top 50 agency.

    In less than 3 years, I have helped Click Convert expand and win Best Business in 2019. My speciality is covering Pay Per Click advertising on Google Ads, Facebook, Amazon & Bing. My subjects include latest developments, advertising strategy,  shopping, FBA, analytics analysis, brand creative, brand protection, and much more.

    I hope to take our vision for Inform, Empower and Deliver to help both clients and readers.