COVID-19: Strategic Digital Marketing Matters More Now Than Ever

There’s never been such a thing like this – at least in the modern age.

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COVID-19 has taken the whole world by storm. It’s enveloped our nation, shut down vast chunks of the economy, and sent entire industries to a screeching halt.

And as horrific and life-threatening as this virus has been, it’s encouraging to consider that – eventually – most of the routine aspects of our society will return. They may be different in one way or yet another, but they won’t stay gone.

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From a business perspective, we have to be sensitive to the moment yet discerning enough to begin to see the marketplace via a long-term lens. We need to understand, yes, things attended to a standstill for the moment, but there will come an occasion – whether it’s in three months, 6 months, or a year from now – when this situation is in the rearview mirror. And when it’s, we’ll have to face the ramifications of exactly how we – as individual organizations – handled this crisis.

When you look back in the months in the future, will you be annoyed by the fact that you neglected your visitors and mishandled your messaging? Or are you at peace knowing that you addressed the concerns of the marketplace in a appropriate yet intentional way?

There’s a role for each and every aspect of a small business to play in this pandemic, but there’s a disagreement to be manufactured that strategic digital marketing matters more now than ever before.

Why Digital Marketing is Still a Must

There’s a caveat to everything that’s about to be laid out – and it’s this: If you believe that coronavirus crisis has no end up in sight and that it’s going to continue on indefinitely for years or decades in the future, then the axioms outlined in this essay do not connect with your business.

That may appear like a silly caveat, however the hope is that it causes a perspective shift.

Every medical expert in the world agrees that this virus will sooner or later run its course. And if that’s true, we all know that there will sooner or later be a finish to this pandemic. Social distancing restrictions will ease, shops and stores will gradually reopen, professional sports will return, events will begin to refill the calendar, and life will continue.

Sounds pretty obvious, right?

Well, it’s an important point for business people, entrepreneurs, and online marketers to know. Because if business will soon go back to normal, this means we can’t fall asleep driving.

This is a temporary ordeal – painful, but temporary. Eventually, your customers will be needing you again and you’ll have to take into account how you handled this strange period. Did you turn off all modes of communication and disappear into the night? Or were you purposeful in your communication, tactful in your messaging, and thoughtful in your execution?

Now is your opportunity to build trust with customers and to suggest to them that you care. Customers know that you care about them when they’re spending money, however they want to know that you’re still there for them even if there’s no product or service to purchase.

The purpose of marketing is to build brand awareness by engaging with a target audience in order that you’re in a position to procure traffic, generate leads, and produce sales. And while you may possibly not be actively pursuing traffic, leads, and sales at the moment, there’s no reason to disregard the first 1 / 2 of this responsibility: building brand awareness by engaging with a market.

The right online marketing strategy will help you balance your approach today to enable you to reemerge healthiest and more profitable tomorrow.

COVID-19: The Smart Approach to Digital Marketing

The rules of business are changing, however the game continues to be being played. It’s as much as your brand to embrace these rapid modulations and respond in a smart, calculated manner that presents your brand is both confident and caring.

With this in mind, let’s explore a number of the top axioms and recommendations for marketing your business online during this unique and concerning time:

  • Review and Adjust Your Timeline

At the beginning of the season, when business was booming, you had a marketing campaign schedule and/or a content calendar. And while these initiatives are probably very creative and relevant to your brand, you need to embrace the newest context that we’re residing in. This means reviewing your timeline/calendar and making necessary adjustments.

You can’t continue to push out content as if nothing happened. At best, you appear tone-deaf. At worst, you offend and upset your audience (permanently sending them away).

Thoroughly audit your complete marketing, promotions, and advertising calendar for the next 90 days. Decide on where you need to pause and where you need to pivot. Some items will have to be scrapped altogether.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve been directly impacted by COVID-19, it’s vital that you remember that we’re dealing with an emergency that’s impacted hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families. You have to be sensitive and painful to this.

It’s safer to be seen as too serious than to really have the marketplace accuse you of taking the problem too lightly. If you’re going to err on one side of this spectrum or one other, make it the former.

Sensitivity matters on both a macro and a micro scale. In other words, it’s not enough to pivot on major strategic goals and campaigns. You also have to just take all of the smaller details under consideration – just like the verbiage you utilize in your articles and copy.

If sensitivity can be your goal, it is possible to no longer use words like killer, contagious, and viral – even though you’re with them in another context. This requires putting a hang on content that talks about “killer content,” “contagious marketing,” or “viral social media posts.” There may come an occasion when we can resurrect these terms, but we aren’t there yet.

  • Know the Difference in Tones

Tonality is everything. It’s important for brands to be serious, but this doesn’t mean you need to be somber. The goal would be to avoid being humorous, witty, or nonchalant. But you can be positive, inspiring, and helpful.

People are seeking hope and good news. (In fact, Google searches for the keyword “good news” are at an all-time high.) There are ways to be serious yet upbeat. You can acknowledge the weight of the problem we’re in and still elect to focus on positive things that are happening.

  • Set Up Additional Safeguards

Nobody desires to be that company. However, by the full time this pandemic winds down, we’ll inevitably have more information on brands that posted insensitive and inappropriate content on social media. There will be articles and case studies discussing what not to do (based entirely about what otherwise talented marketing teams did).

This is the reason why it’s vital that you set up extra layers of protection – particularly with any sort of customer-facing content medium. This includes social media and email.

It doesn’t matter just how much you trust your marketing team and copywriters, no Facebook post, tweet, or email should get pushed out without at least two sets of eyeballs reviewing it. Yes, this might slow down your posting schedule a bit, but it’s an advisable tradeoff.

  • Leverage What the Market Gives You

Observe industry and constantly look for approaches to leverage soft spots and opportunities. This isn’t being greedy – it’s being strategic.

For example, the cost-per-impression on Facebook ads has plummeted within the last few weeks (even as traffic has increased on the platform).

More eyeballs + lower costs = no-brainer

It’s not just Facebook, though. Many popular internet sites have also seen advertiser interest wane despite seeing traffic increase. Is there ways to adjust your advertising budget to take into account this?

While you almost certainly don’t wish to put on a tough sell, this might be a great possibility to give your brand some positive exposure at a discounted rate. You’ll get yourself a much better rate of get back and, on top of that, this exposure will carry forward since the marketplace recovers and spending returns.

What other opportunities are out there? Where can you allocate resources to help make the most out of these unique circumstances?

Doctors, researchers, lawmakers, and government officials have never seen a virus like this. We learn something new about any of it every day or two. This contributes to changes in recommendations and restrictions. And it’s something you, as a business leader, must monitor.

Your current strategy that you’re using today might not be realistic or relevant in 7 days – as well as in 72 hours. It’s imperative that you constantly reassess the evolving circumstances and take into account these new developments in your way of online marketing. For the time being, you as well as your team should really be meeting (virtually) on a daily basis.

Make the Most of Every Opportunity

Nobody wanted this situation to take place. Nobody is cheering coronavirus and the wreckage it’s left in its wake. However, it has provided business leaders everywhere with a timely wakeup call that we must certanly be ready to shift and adapt whenever new and unique circumstances emerge. That’s element of what this means to operate in a digital age.

Are you ready and prepared to embrace the task?

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO of SEARCH ENGINE; a full-service SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION company and; a custom web and software development business. For over ten years Nate had provided strategic guidance on technology and marketing solutions for a few of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB customers on pc software, development and online marketing. Nate and his team are based in Seattle, Washington and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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