Unless you're one of the few organisations servicing "essential needs", it is likely that you are one of millions of businesses across the globe facing unprecedented challenges as the full impact of the Coronavirus pandemic hits.
With customers spending less resulting in an unexpected loss of revenue, businesses are being forced to find ways to reduce budgets and maximise efficiency. Digital marketing budgets are usually an easy target. But is it really a good idea to put a pause on digital marketing right now?
The simple answer is no. You just need to change your approach.
Pausing digital marketing is a short term solution that may result in negative consequences later down the track. It is essential to maintain brand visibility in your market to ensure long term profitability.
Here are a few ways you should be using digital marketing to help your brand withstand the COVID-19 economic downturn:
- Engage and retain current customers
- Focus on conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
- Increase brand visibility
- Measure ROI
1. Engage and retain existing customers
It is crucial to keep in engage with your current customers or you risk losing them completely. Remember, it’s cheaper to retain current customers than acquire new ones.
Things to focus on:
Marketing automation is a low cost, simple and effective way to communicate with your current customers. In times like these, you need to focus on sending personalised, timely, targeted messages to customers who want to hear from you. Marketing automation enables you to stay in touch with customers efficiently, without the need for too much manpower.
Now is a good time to amp up your content production. Share what your business is doing differently from your competitors. Promote good news stories showcasing your customers or staff to provide customers some relief from negative news stories. You might also want to take this time to audit and update your existing content, ready for when business is back to normal.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are a great way to listen to your customers and gauge their general sentiment about your brand during these uncertain times. I would also suggest optimising your social media workflow using tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to reduce time and resources needed to manage your brand's social media presence.
2. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a low cost digital marketing technique that can have a big impact on ROI. CRO is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.
Here are a few ways you can improve your conversion rate:
- Include additional social proof or positive stories about your brand on your website. Assess how you are utilising your case studies, testimonials and reviews at every stage of the customer journey and ensure it is included throughout your website and social media activities.
- Focus on improving customer experience (CX) across your website. Small changes such as reducing the length of forms or making it easier for users to find what they are looking for can make a big impact on conversions.
- Utilise artificial intelligence across all marketing activities. For example, test automated bidding strategies and ad rotations in your Google Ads campaigns to drive down cost per conversion.
3. Increase brand visibility
It can be tempting to go quiet during these times, but it is important to maintain your brand visibility by putting your brand in front of customers when they are searching for products or services you offer.
What to focus on:
- Technical search engine optimisation (SEO) work. Now is a great time to revisit your SEO strategy to ensure that your website follows Google’s best practices. If your website is loading slowly or does not have an SSL certificate, your website could be penalised, resulting in reduced online visibility.
- Update your evergreen content. Take the time to revisit your content archives and update it if necessary to ensure that it is relevant to users and search engines. Fresh content is one of many ranking signals that Google uses to determine where to rank your content in search results.
4. Measure ROI
Measuring your digital marketing activities is critical to ensure that your digital marketing budget is being used effectively. Now is the time to ensure you have well defined KPIs and that the data you are collecting is accurate and correct.
- Configure Google Analytics. Take some time to audit your Google Analytics account to ensure that everything is set up correctly and you are taking advantage of all of the data it has to offer. Do you have goals configured correctly? Have you linked Search Console and Google Ads?
- Measuring social media ROI. When marketing budgets are tight, social media activity is usually one of the first marketing activities to go. But before you make that decision, ensure you have explored how social media is contributing to your bottom line in terms of engagement, visibility, and profitability.
The Wrap Up
Every organisation is different and faces its own unique challenges when it comes to marketing during these trying times. Now, more than ever, is the time to be agile and creative.
Continually test new strategies, channels and messages. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Move quickly.
Future-proof your digital marketing today so your organisation can weather the storm and come out the other side ready for success.