“I need you now, more than ever before.” That was an email we received just after the UK government announced the country would be going into lockdown in March 2020, sent from one of our long-standing clients.
At the peak of uncertainty amidst the coronavirus outbreak, lots of businesses were plunged into the unknown. Should I still be posting on Facebook? What if I say the wrong thing? Should I still be advertising, let alone trying to sell things, right now?
The truth is – no economy has ever been in this situation before. ‘Unprecedented times’ has been such an overused phrase during the global pandemic but it’s true; so unfortunately there’s no one size fits all, especially when it comes to marketing. What might work for your business might not work for another.
The past few months have undoubtedly caused a huge shift in consumer behaviour; people are thinking a lot more about what they actually need and want, which has therefore had a knock-on effect on how businesses and brands need to communicate with their customers. You might be nervous about what steps to take next when it comes to marketing, but we think it’s simple; extraordinary times call for extraordinary creative.
1. Digital marketing
There are more people online than ever before, with Virgin Media reporting that the lockdown roughly doubled the UK’s day time internet usage. Whether it’s on social media or through Google CPC ads, now’s the time to cut through the noise and reach your customers online with thumb-stopping campaigns. One of the most effective digital marketing methods we’ve noticed are remarketing campaigns – you know those ads where it says, “oh, looks like you left something in your basket!” Adding a pixel to your website allows you to track your customers’ journeys, so you can improve the end-to-end experience and show them relevant messages, making that sales journey super smooth and prompting them to actually take that action.
2. Optimise your website for search engines
Whilst we’re on the subject, if more people are online that means that they’re probably going to be looking at your website right now – so make sure your SEO is on point! Freshen up the images (remember to include Alt-Text descriptions), add your most recent work or updates, and ensure that all important communications are just a click away.
3. PR and media relations
There is a huge appetite for feel good news right now. We’ve even had local news outlets approach us asking for ‘happy stories’ to break up the barrage of COVID-19 updates! Staying connected with your local audience both in print and online has never been more important, whether it’s through feel-good stories or digital articles. If you’ve been helping your local community, have completely switched up your business offering to give something back, or have been live streaming videos of the ocean so people in lockdown have have still been able to imagine they were there…People want to hear about it – so get it out there!
4. Social media
Understandably, there was a lot of trepidation around social media when the crisis was at its peak. Should you address that in such a public forum? How should you phrase it? Will someone feel offended by that? Thankfully, for every keyboard warrior there’s like a bazillion more people are who caring, compassionate, and dedicated to your brand. Those are the people to keep front and centre when you’re thinking about what to post on social media; talk to them, craft your messages for their news feeds and think about how they might feel. We actually found that longer form, more personalised style posts worked best when communicating about COVID-19. People are looking for genuine, human, personal interaction – it’s a time to pull together and support each other.
5. Marketing strategy
It’s a term that’s being thrown around a lot at the moment but it really is the perfect time to do a bit of future gazing about your business. Think about the who, what and why; who are your customers, what do you need them to feel, and why should they? One thing that’s become obvious is that if there’s an audience you haven’t reached before, now might just be the perfect time to find them. Our advice? With more people online than ever before, there’s never been a better time to explore the possibilities with your marketing.