Digital Marketing Tools and Solutions to Keep Your Business Moving During the COVID-19 Crisis
The fast-moving trajectory of the Coronavirus throughout the world is having a significant and continuing impact on businesses, forcing many to strengthen their digital marketing strategy during COVID-19.
Since the spread of the virus began, we at Fishnet have had a unique perspective on the implications for any businesses’ digital marketing strategy during COVID-19. Most noticeably is how the virus has shifted consumer perceptions, behaviors, and habits, putting far more at stake for businesses than just a change to working remotely.
Depending on your industry (because there are winners and losers of the Coronavirus outbreak) there can be significant impacts.
When consumers change their focus – and especially when there is a fear component at play – web traffic, leads, and sales can go down. Ads can become less effective as people reserve their time and money for things deemed more pressing. Strategic content may attract fewer eyeballs as people invest their attention in other areas.
Another more abrupt implication of the COVID-19 crisis has been the cancellation of trade shows, conferences, and festivals large and small worldwide. While many organizers were able to convert their planned event into a digital experience, such as holding panels, presentations, breakout sessions, and discussion forums online, many were simply not set up for that type of functionality, and millions in anticipated revenue were never realized.
But Don’t Despair – There is a Solution!
The COVID-19 ripple effect will be felt whether you’re a B2B, B2C or DTC company; however, whether your topmost concern is event coordination, keeping your audience engaged, or just generally keeping your business afloat – or all three – a big part of the solution is your digital marketing strategy during COVID-19.
And we’re not just talking about advertising and content optimization. When the opportunity to be face-to-face with your team, your customers, or your prospects is no longer possible, digital tools and solutions can be excellent stand-ins for all kinds of in-person activities and business functions.
Your company also likely has extra budget from travel plans or events that have since been canceled, and now is the perfect time to reallocate those monies toward digital efforts that can salvage some of those interactions rather than yield zero activity or results.
Start with Internal and External Digital Collaboration
By now, your company is likely into its second or even third week of remote working.
If you’re not yet leveraging a remote collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom for internal or external meetings, you should be. The first thing you should do is get your company set up for virtual workflows.
But you can’t stop there. Weathering the COVID-19 crisis from a business perspective is about more than remote meeting tools. Your audience is still out there, and the question now has become: how can you continue reaching them with the right message during this very different time?
Digital Solutions That May Not be on Your Radar – But Should Be
Now that reality has set in that no live gatherings, happy hours, in-person networking events, or business meetings can be held in the near future, it’s time to consider your options to keep the lights on for you, your audience, and your prospective customers and clients.
To get people together, even when you can’t physically be in the same place, marketers are turning to live or recorded online options to make it happen.
- Stay Face-to-Face with Video: Bring live or pre-recorded video events to your audience. Video is a quick, easy way to engage your customers, answer their questions, have topical discussions, and book meetings. And with social distancing essentially eliminating real-life interactions, video is a welcome, personalized way to maintain and grow relationships with your audience.
- Deliver Product Experiences: If your company was planning to reveal or show off a new product at an upcoming event, digital tools can help you provide your audience with a virtual look at the product or a live demonstration.
- Live Stream Anything: There’s a multitude of tools out there that enable your company to live stream any kind of content, whether it’s an exercise class or a tutorial. Social media platforms like Facebook Live or YouTube Live are great options, or you can leverage video apps like Zoom.
- Make it a Webinar, Podcast, or Audiobook: These aren’t new concepts but they can be lifesavers right now when it comes to delivering content to your audience digitally. Consider what type of information you’d like to share and how to best disseminate it in one of these ways. Take your customers through a multi-step guide to using a product or solving a problem you know they have.
In addition to live or recorded online interactions, there are additional ways to leverage digital tactics, and if you’re not updating or taking advantage of these yet, now is the time to do so.
- Social Media: Your customers will primarily turn to your social channels to communicate with you and check for updates and timely information, such as a change in your hours or the date and time of your next webinar. Make sure your business is accessible and responsive. Update your social pages, post any relevant news, and maintain quick response times.
- Website: Your customers will also visit your website to check for updates or reach out. Make sure your website is accessible, contains updated information, and has visible links to your social pages so users can get everything they need from you without having to dig.
- Blog/Content: If your company has a blog or news page, or both, keep them updated! Depending on your industry, there may be a decent amount of relevant information worth sharing during the COVID-19 crisis. Share these updates on your social pages as well to increase visibility.
- Email Newsletters: Does your company have a database of email subscribers? Leverage that list to begin communicating regularly with news and updates your customers will care about. If you haven’t launched an email effort yet, this is a great time to get started with an email client and get your company into your customers’ inboxes. Go one step further and leverage a CMS platform like Salesforce to manage your database.
- E-Commerce Channels: Many businesses in the retail industry have had to shut their doors during the COVID-19 crisis, making it almost mandatory to continue sales opportunities for customers online – the alternative is far less desirable. Activating an e-commerce platform is completely doable in a short amount of time, and can be very successful with additional tactics like website push notifications to give your subscribers a clear understanding of what they get when they click. E-commerce and push notifications aren’t just for retail either – any industry looking to increase product marketing online can leverage this tactic.
- SEO and Advertising Tactics: Now more than ever you’ll want to attract your target audience to your website and content. Luckily, most people are spending more time online and in front of their televisions right now – Neilson reports a 60% increase in content being watched online and on TV simply because people are staying home. What a perfect time to reach your audience through search or targeted advertising.
Implementing these tactics can be a game-changer for your business and digital marketing strategy during COVID-19, and making it happen is as easy as partnering with a digital marketing agency.
However, before launching these digital marketing tactics, make sure you’ve gotten a handle on the thing that’s going to drive audience engagement in the first place – your audience.
Now, More Than Ever, You Need to Understand Your Audience
In order to deliver digital content your audience will want to engage with, your company has to have an understanding of what will resonate with them. What are they doing online? What are their pain points? Have they interacted with your website before, and if so, in what way?
The more purposeful you can be in your digital content production, the better the results will be from enhancing your digital efforts. With every company looking for ways to captivate at-home audiences in this distracting and stressful time, you’ll get the best outcome from understanding your audience first.
And while it might seem like the COVID-19 crisis is dominating every piece of content we come in contact with, you can still connect with your audience. The pandemic is simply changing the way we engage with each other and do business.
Hopefully, in not too much time, the Coronavirus will pass and we’ll all be able to reclaim the normalcy in our lives again. Until that happens, we all need to make adjustments to deal with the challenges to business operations in all areas.
Because we are a digital marketing agency, we not only have extensive experience with a wide repertoire of the digital technology tools and solutions that can help your business successfully leverage your digital channels, but we’re ready to do so. Whether it’s because of a pandemic or because of a need to generally reposition your business, we’re able to jump in and help optimize your operations – no matter the industry you’re in.
And none of these digital tactics become irrelevant during normal business operations. Implementing them now will only mean you’ll be in a better position from a digital standpoint after this COVID-19 crisis passes.
Contact us today to discuss what could help your business during this time, and beyond.