Digital marketing approaches during COVID-19

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Date: 20 May 2020

A businessman uses a variety of online marketing techniques

As with most other industries, the coronavirus pandemic is creating extremely challenging conditions for digital marketing businesses. The results of a humanitarian crisis combined with a global recession will almost certainly be felt by everyone. With the stock market falling at an unprecedented rate, it is hardly surprising that digital marketing departments and companies will see their budgets cut substantially. Spending habits have changed dramatically too, with a general decrease in spending across all industries. Things are not looking good, but with nothing else to do but wait for better times to return, digital marketers have found ways to be creative, innovative and optimistic.

In these most difficult of times, all businesses need assistance from an IT company that can deliver. IT support can be provided remotely, and a reputable support company will be able to provide a wide range of services to help keep your business afloat. 

Start a new conversation

Since the coronavirus outbreak, we're all living in a very different world. What your customers expect from your brand and how they want to receive it will also be different. Although spending has declined, consumers have more time due to social distancing restrictions, and are open to being contacted with new ideas.

Every industry is different in terms of how much they are affected by the stay-at-home measures but staying in touch with clients and keeping them engaged is usually an effective strategy.

Some fitness centres have been creating free online classes and tutorials for keeping their clients active at home during the lockdown. Food delivery services have lowered their fees to make things easier for the hospitality industry and make food more accessible for those stuck at home. B2C brands have altered their messages in email marketing to be more optimistic.

There is a limit to the amount of coronavirus information people are willing to receive, so it's essential you strike the right balance. 

Follow the changes

During this crisis, the internet has been used in a very different way. As might be expected, use of the internet has increased enormously.

But in terms of ecommerce, although people are spending more time browsing online, they are making far fewer purchases. Searches for things that people use at home, such as night wear and gaming, have been much more common. With people spending more on groceries and household-related products, advertisers will need to meet consumer demands for these goods. 

Social media has also seen a huge rise across all demographics. As there is much lower demand, advertising costs have fallen.

There is also more of an awareness of misinformation. Google will remove all ads with COVID-19 terms. Facebook is putting all new ads and ad copy changes through a manual review process. 

Get ideas from others

In the new post-coronavirus world, there are still business opportunities to be found for those that are able to adapt and innovate. By offering products or services of special value in a time of crisis, brands can improve their public image.

The sandwich shop, Pret a Manger, have been offering free drinks and discount snacks to NHS staff, while L’Occitane UK have donated hand creams to NHS staff and HSE staff in Ireland and have assigned some of their facilities to the production of hand sanitiser. Leon restaurants are offering free deliveries to medical workers, and they have launched an ecommerce platform for food deliveries.

The clothing retailer Zara has converted its factories to produce hospital gowns and face masks. LVMH, the company that owns high-end brands like Louis Vuitton, have adapted to produce hand sanitiser. 

For these brands where businesses would otherwise be slow, providing something to help in the fight against COVID-19 can create an opportunity to increase the positive associations their brand holds. This positive impression will be remembered by consumers when life returns to normal.  

Change your advertising budget

With much lower conversion rates, now could be a good time to rethink your advertising strategies. Rather than focussing on the current situation in which spending is low, a better approach may be to look at the channels that are more likely to pay off in the long run. 

Instead of trying to convert customers, SEO strategies could be reviewed and updated with a view to informing and educating for future marketing opportunities.

In terms of conversion rate optimisation, you can experiment with web pages with high organic traffic tested during this low period. Copy, messaging and phrasing can be changed. User research can be carried out to better understand needs, which can be put back into messaging strategies in the future.

YouTube has received an increase in views, especially in areas such as cooking, health and fitness, and education. This could be the best time to start using display ads to build your brand, which will surely pay off once shopping habits return to normal.

For most people, the year 2020 will not be remembered as a good year. We have yet to understand clearly just how long the health and economic effects will be felt. It is possible that we will be headed towards another period of austerity in the post-coronavirus world, in which case spending will be allocated to the most essential goods and technologies. This means it could be long before the challenges for digital marketing are over.

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Zachary Gottlieb

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