Communities across the globe are taking all possible measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. During these times of uncertainty, organizations and businesses of all shapes and sizes are struggling to keep themselves afloat. Considering how the coronavirus pandemic has affected business continuity, overall employee well-being, product launches and supply chain access, business owners scramble to alleviate the impact of the global health crisis – we are all in this together.
A recession is inevitable; the government has taken steps to place the U.S. economy in suspended animation. This move is part of the plan to allow individuals from all walks of life to return to their jobs and kickstart the recovery in due time. Some businesses, however, remain operational. Firms across the nation are employing a work from home (WFH) arrangement, e.g., eCommerce companies. This means that companies and their customers can continue trading, communicating and marketing via online means and platforms.
Some of the benefits of remote working during the COVID-19 crisis include:
• Staff members can work in isolation and avoid spreading any sort of illness to other co-workers
• Team members have a flexible work schedule
• Employers can maintain business continuity even when work premises cannot be accessed
It is important to note that remote interactions do not only apply to workplaces. A growing number of people are also finding that this concept applies to their lives as well. Individuals can shop online instead of venturing outside and increasing the risk of exposure to the virus in crowded areas. Content creators and media companies alike are also publishing more quality content online to keep their audiences entertained. In addition to being a great source of entertainment, the internet and social media platforms are useful tools for users to stay in touch with their families and friends while facilitating social distancing.
If you are a business owner, now is not the time to pause, postpone, or reduce your digital marketing campaigns. The current climate is an uptick for eCommerce; occasional online shoppers are now turning to digital platforms. Businesses need to establish, maintain and grow their online presence more than ever.
If there was ever a time for digital marketing to come to the fore, the answer is now. Indoor and outdoor events have been postponed or canceled, fewer individuals venture out to purchase products and billboards now stand beside empty streets. With more people going online and possibly for a long time, the chances of seeing and interacting with ads through websites, content marketing blogs and social media are significantly greater.
An area where goods are in greater demand is social media. Digital marketers should focus on maintaining links on their social media accounts. In today’s world of hyper-speed connectivity and dramatic scale-ups, social media has become a mature marketing channel. Organic is not dead! That’s why small businesses should not only focus on driving short-term campaigns. These efforts typically lead to a temporary boost in numbers at the cost of revenue. In the long run, these short-lived campaigns have little impact on growth.
How should one approach digital marketing to build or grow their brand during the pandemic? Here are some best practices to keep in mind.
Firstly, take some time to audit the content that you have planned to market over the next few months. Decide which digital marketing campaign to pivot or prioritize. While it is mandatory to push back major brand launch campaigns, it does not mean that one has to cancel it entirely. Certain campaign elements are just inappropriate in times of crisis. Enjoy complete peace of mind knowing that the campaign can resume once COVID-19 subsides.
Secondly, members of any organization should band together and help those in need. Business owners are encouraged to brainstorm innovative and creative ways to help their stakeholders, employees, partners and consumers. Review your brand’s digital assets and identify opportunities on how your organization can disseminate information, support advocacies and donate. Remember that good brands exist to provide value for their consumers. Explain how the brand can enhance the lives of consumers while in quarantine by creating helpful content and communicating its various benefits. It’s fine if your brand does not directly help people while they are in quarantine. Your team can still create immersive content to inspire, educate and entertain relevant audiences.
Thirdly, reassess existing marketing campaigns and ensure that all creative campaign elements are in constant scrutiny. Carefully evaluate your messages and their media placements, keywords, copy, visual imagery and tone. Slapstick humor isn’t appropriate amidst the health crisis and that’s why many brands’ annual April Fools advertisements were canceled ahead of time. It is important to remember that organizations should not profit from any kind of crisis or tragedy.
Business owners should keep their consumers informed whenever it’s possible. It is, however, important to avoid being an alarmist and add to the panic. Drop the use of overly dramatic language that may cause consumers to become anxious. In addition, brands need to increase their efforts by actively communicating with their stakeholders. Relay the organization’s overall COVID-19 response plan and the proactive measures it plans to take without delay.
Lastly, the public is already feeling uneasy during a health crisis. Business owners do not need to feed into that negativity by communicating with a harsh or grim tone. Avoid publishing robotic or superficial messages because you don’t need to strip your brand’s unique personality. Organizations can still spread positive vibes and offer well-wishes through their digital marketing campaigns without being insensitive. Ultimately, always know what your brand stands for through its core values. These principles help set the tone on how your team connects and speaks to your audience.