Why digital marketing is your go-to during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The rapidly progressing Covid-19 is causing economic fallout around the globe.
As the great majority businesses try to cope with either the downturn and in some cases extreme surge buying, cancellations in the events and trades sector have hit particularly hard and potential loss of business is accelerating. For businesses involved in the promotional products area who are normally heavily focussed on events and trade shows, now is the time to consider your pivot options in your marketing strategy.
We thought this would be a great time to reinforce the fact that you have some great channels to continue building your client base, expand your marketing endeavours, and help you maintain some sense of normality even if you are working from your couch.
Businesses who are set up online have an excellent opportunity to make some promotional offers, but if you’re just starting to build your business then this an opportune time to start creating your own marketing plans and materials.
However you stand, it’s a good time to start switching gears to what underpins today’s marketing efforts: digital marketing.
Making the shift from trade show exhibitions as a primary marketing source can feel like a scary proposition. Here are some great tips to get your journey started and inspire and get you feeling more comfortable within taking some serious action.
KPI’s & Goals
Every company needs to have KPIS set up and measure goals and conversions as part of their overall business strategy. How many pieces per year do you need to sell? Is it more in Q1 vs Q2? Is it seasonal activity, promotional activity or standard web sales?
By examining your annual trajectory, you may need to put more effort into other channels. Perhaps you need to start generating more new leads or nurture current clients in new ways compared to what you would have normally expected from your Exhibitions and Tradeshows.
If you have regular clients, touching base with them and advising them you are open for business as usual. Consider offering them some additional incentives for ordering over this quiet period. Regardless, customer contact is essential for many businesses to let them know that we are all in this together and keeping the communication lines open.
Website content/landing pages (SEO, SEM, PPC, CTA’s and conversions)
Start taking stock of the changes that you’ve been wanting to make to your website or online eCommerce portal. Making sure your website is ready, up-to-date and ready to scale back up when this crisis has passed. Put your creative hat on and consider a new theme to your website, perk up your images, descriptions, SKU’s. Content is something small businesses rarely have the time to do. If time is on your side, then a facelift could be well warranted. This leaves the opportunity to get out some new communications with old and regular clients alike, and who doesn’t like the kick off of a new brand look?
Content marketing (articles, blog, social graphics, standard print material)
Something that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile when you’re business is running full steam is your blog content. We make hay when the sun shines. This is universal, but when things start to slow down you can always rely on content to freshen up all of your channels.
Writing can be one of the most difficult challenges so we recommend starting with an ideation session. List 10 things that your company is great at, and how you can write an article about those, focussing on how that adds to your USP. If you were to write a larger article it could be broken down into parts. Tackle one idea/paragraph a day. A four-part article could mean four social posts and opportunities to engage with your customers.
Find some funny memes that might apply to your business and rework those to your area of especially (KEEP CALM… is a great example of how to use a general meme to your advantage).
Even in this challenging time, your global brand needs to maintain a strong identity. Think about how your company’s values can be translated into feel-good stories and share them widely on the appropriate channels.
If you have not already engaged on Google Ads there is a gold mine of traffic and leads looking for your product. Google Ads has refined its platform and makes it much easier to get started with advertising. Find the right customers at the right time and open up a wider net for leads and traffic. Even if you have a finite budget, you can manage a trickle of customers, and you’ll start seeing the result in calls and conversion and sales. An Agency would be your best option for set up and strategy, but you can also do it yourself. There are great tutorials about learning how to set up your accounts, bidding, keywords, and Ad copy.
In these heady days, you shouldn’t be sticking with your usual PPC campaigns. This could require a tweak to a significant change in your campaigns in order to continue growth or capitalize during this economic shutdown.
How to make the most from PPC in age od Covid-19:
- Start today.
Analyse your performance data now. With things changing as rapidly as they are, you could notice campaign performance variation by the hour and day with the news cycles. Keep an eye on industry specific search trends would be a great bet. In fact Google has recently developed a section that tracks Covid-19 terms and trends.
- You’ll never know until you give it a try.
- No one else in your industry will be doing this.
- Capture opportunities while they are here and you’ll reap the benefits in the long game.
- Be very careful with your messaging.
Moral signalling aside, the communication that your brand is putting out at this incredibly insensitive time could be the ultimate game changer. Find a way to make your product fit into this new way of life. You can offer a product but you’ll have to be 100% clear that you are not seen as profiteering from this situation.
Here are some great examples of how companies are advertising including Porsche, Uber, Spotify, and Heinz.
- Be ruthless with your spend.
Make sure that every campaign you are running right now is converting. Then cut the campaigns that aren’t producing. Now is not the time to think about brand awareness. Now is the time to capitalise on your messaging and products that could be selling online. Double-down on your good and great performing Ads using strategies such as dayparting.
It’s also worthy to note that your strategy should consider using Covid-19 in your negative keywords list.
- Build relationships with your audience
Take the time to engage and nurture your audience. How can your products serve their needs, desires and quell the anxiety of the work from home business. How can you help THEM amplify their signal and messaging to their audiences right now? Maybe they just want to see a friendly face. A milligram is worth a Ton right now, and your message should be offering them help. They will remember this when things start back to normal. Lots of companies are offering freebies for messaging such as Canva. It’s a great way to show you care and offer a helping hand. Make sure you track these campaigns well with your audiences on-site behaviours in GA, conversions and goals. You’ll see the dollar value return quickly if you are providing them with something of real value.
Social media platforms are still one of the best ways to engage with your clients. 3.8 billion people use social media. Especially when populations are isolating. More time will be spent online and screen time will be jumping. What better time to grab thier attention? Make a plan with your content to start dripping out more articles and posts. Try some new engagement tactics like promotions, contests, quizzes, surveys, infographics, webinars, online live demos, and linking to lead magnets like white papers, guides, ebooks, and otherwise gated content that might spark some interest.
The main platforms that small businesses use today are still the standard: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Most businesses will choose 1-2 to focus on but still feed the others. They are always appearing in organic search, so using your business keywords helps in any Search context.
Which platforms do you use? Every business is different and every platform has its unique messaging feel and look.
Facebook is about engagement with great posts and ideas and sharing that content (engagement). You want lots of shares and likes. It’s an excellent platform to advertise on and remarket to. If you want traffic, consider Facebook as a primary platform for your top of the funnel lead generation.
Instagram is full of pretty pictures but if you haven’t got a high-end creative focus on your products you might want to side-line this platform in the meantime. One of the options that you may want to consider is running ads on Instagram (done through Facebook) if you feel that your demographic truly lies on this platform (18-35yr).
Linkedin is an excellent platform and is underutilized by most businesses. It is truly the only B2B platform out there. Upgrading to a premium membership allows you to build amazing connections with other businesses, approach them directly, and make offers, along with the excellent content you have on offer. If you are not on LinkedIn a business right now then drop the phone right now and go take the time to get to know that platform and all the opportunities there are to capitalise on while everyone is at home. One great option if you are cost averse in their 30 day free business trial, that you can cancel after 30 days before you have to pay. Set a reminder, give it a gold standard effort and test it out. You might find exactly who you are looking for in connections and conversations with your target market.
Lastly, consider using Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram videos, even YouTube, to keep in regular contact with your people. We’re all in this together. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re out of reach and there are some great examples of how people are becoming innovative with their messaging during this challenging time.
This is a truly global experience. Staying healthy and safe is the primary focus, but why not have some fun, get creative and add a few new arrows to your marketing quiver while strengthening your overall marketing plan.
Here are some resources we’ve gathered for small business help:
Small business support from Victorian Small Business COmmission: https://www.vsbc.vic.gov.au/news-publication/small-business-supports-in-response-to-covid-19/
Morrison Government 17.6 billion economic plan: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/economic-stimulus-package?fbclid=IwAR2BZU4L6FTWBRqig8V-LMGtbG9mldz6HaJN6EFcXnQeay27XwvoMwyinHI
Palaszczuk Government offers $500m in loans to support workers in businesses affected by coronavirus:
What is Reputational Management and why the heck do we need it?
Clients are won and lost in the blink of an eye these days and staying on top of your online presence when the ability of followers to ruin your reputation with one foul keystroke is real.
Google Reviews, Facebook, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Uber and other peer-to-peer services depend on reviews have dominated our business culture for better or worse.
Negative comments are a part of every online business but aren’t a reputational crisis. What will damage your business reputation is negative reviews.
For businesses that stay on top of their feedback this is great. Comments that arise on social media for instance can be proactively dealt with in real time versus being left to fester. But if your business isn’t across your online presence then a quick problem can turn from a snowball into an avalanche. The key is platform management and listening – and it’s not that difficult.
Reputational Management IS Platform Management
Make sure you have someone monitoring your social media and online platforms in real time. There are multitudes of SAAS that can keep yours @mentions, comments, replies and reviews on notice to make sure you can respond in real time before the fires grow.
How to Respond to a Negative Comment or Review
- Your response level is key to turning negative comments around. Everyone is a keyboard warrior these days and turning negative experiences into positive ones.
- Don’t respond negatively.
- Take ownership of the problem.
- Be clear and transparent about what happened, explain the status and how you are working to clear up the issue.
- Be quick. The internet happens at the speed of light and if you can answer the complaints quickly it will solve the issue quickly. You want to seem agile, willing to resolve the issue and do right by the consumer/user.
- Rectify. Be the problem solver. Everyone loves a hero.
- Regain trust by using these tools in a calm effective manner to resolve the issue.
What happens when you get a fraudulent or fake review?
- Determine where its come from – a competitor, a troll? Gather as much information about the event, response and complaint. It could be a competitor, or someone out for a troll. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell.
- Most platforms have a review process so that if you have received a fake or fraudulent review there is a way to have it removed from your profile.
Businesses rely so heavily on their visibility that it’s a non-negotiable to keep a hawk eye on reviews coming in. You work hard on your businesses’ online presence. Your reviews contribute to your Google Ads or Google Shopping ranking and is one of the first things your customers see in their search. Consider using a service that helps you manage the acquisition, monitoring and amplifying process with a company like GradeUs. Using SEO to make sure that you are ranking top of the page is the biggest threat of course so consider your options and ask for help when you need it.