How to adapt your marketing strategy during the coronavirus crisis

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Posted by - Sylvie Johnson

& 5 marketing methods to safeguard & enhance your business

We’ve heard it again and again in the media. The coronavirus pandemic is an ‘unprecedented situation’. From meeting up with friends to doing the weekly shop, our daily lives have been reshaped in ways we never imagined. And the overwhelming effect on UK business? Change? Loss? Damage? Disruption? Maybe. But ultimately, a need to react quickly – in order to survive.

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So yes, it’s easy to feel all ‘doom and gloom’ as you lament a slowing – and for some stopping – market. Do you just weather the storm and hope for the best? Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been answering this question for our clients – and our answer is a resounding no. In fact, ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ is unlikely to get you far… and unlikely to see your business arise when we come out the other side of this crisis.

During the coronavirus outbreak many businesses are now operating out of dining rooms and offices.

Instead, it’s vital you adapt your marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic

Why? Well, your target audience has changed. Or specifically, their behaviour is changing rapidly. During the COVID-19 outbreak, everything from buyer motivations to pain points has been flipped on their heads. And with an upheaval of everyday life for almost everyone, you have an upheaval of what you’ve always known about your prospects and customers.

Simply, this means you can’t market as you’ve always done. In fact, it’s time to think where your audience is right now. What situation are they in now? What do they need now? And how do you help them now? Then from this, how can your business add value to their life during these unprecedented times?

Your customer is at home and online

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, your target audience is now most likely at home. Working from home. Staying in. Entertaining themselves at home. Caring for and teaching children at home. Socialising at home. Leveraging technology and staying in touch via the internet… at home. And the reality is that even when the lockdown ends, we could see a long-lasting effect on your target audience’s behaviour.

The quick answer: accelerate your digital marketing transformation

Many businesses feel hindered by this crisis. It’s not surprising – and we aren’t immune to this! However, when you think about it carefully you realise this is a time of opportunity – specifically with your marketing.

If you use this time to optimise your digital marketing, you could emerge so much stronger than the competition. And as other businesses freeze with fear about what to do next, it’s your opportunity to quickly adapt to reach out and engage with your target audience during this time. Quite simply, there are more people online to see your marketing messages – and less competition to be heard.

For many businesses their online offering is now their only means of communicating with prospects and clients during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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5 marketing methods to safeguard & enhance your business during the COVID-19 outbreak

Here’s what we recommend you do with your marketing to ensure your business survives this crisis:

1.   Focus on your website

According to a study by Marketing Week, 64% of UK consumers say they intend to buy more products online. And with imposed social distancing and government regulations on only shopping for essentials, this intent is becoming a need.

Going further than buying your basic household commodities, all businesses need to think about this statistic – and adapt their website to ensure their business can be done in a digital way. Or at the very least, in service-based businesses where the conversion journey is longer, you can nurture relationships in a predominantly digital way.

No website? Think low-investment of money & time

On a practical level, assess your current digital positioning. If you don’t have a website, now is the time to build one. It doesn’t need to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming. For now, it simply needs to be a big “we’re here”. Your presence online has never been more important – so start from the bottom and work your way up.

Speak to Starbots Creative about our 5-page website package starting from £1,500+vat.

Already have a website? Make it better

Seeing website traffic decline? Don’t despair. It’s to be expected if you’re not the media covering COVID-19 or a consumer product seller in demand.

However, don’t rest on your laurels. You can make the very most out of every user on your website by enhancing your technology – and giving the user a simply great experience for longer and repeat visits that convert.

Adding functionality such as live chat, e-commerce, CRM integration, lead optimisation, chatbots, personalised video and video conferencing has so many benefits. Ultimately, think about your target audience and their pain points. Stress. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Long waiting times. What can you do to soothe these pain points?

One answer is website calculators – an affordable way to simplify the user journey. From personal loans and mortgages to anything in your business with an ‘equation’ behind it, calculators give instant ‘black and white’ answers to your user’s questions – and soothe the above pain points. Often, calculators are proven to increase conversions.

Overall, functionality tools ensure enhanced automation, clear sales conversion, easier prospect communication and lead optimisation. In summary, they enable the user to do business with you – or move down the conversion funnel – despite the physical restrictions of lockdown.

2.   Engage with your community on social media

Social media is called social media for a reason. It’s social. And with a lockdown on our social freedoms due to social distancing measures, your target audience is probably flocking to social media even more so than usual. Seeking out support, camaraderie and entertainment, social media plays a central role in the coronavirus crisis – and as a business, you must make the most of this.

Firstly, social media is a great way to keep in touch with your customer base. But be careful to adjust your regular content. It needs to be sensitive to the current situation. Even better, your content needs to support your target audience in dealing with and overcoming the current situation.

Also, remember that social media is also a highly-visual platform. So the creative and design side needs to be developed to strike the right balance between your business objectives and the current situation. Careful evolution of your visual branding combined with copywriting tweaks can make a huge difference to your target audience’s perception.

Overall, assess everything from imagery to language. Stick to the positives and give your target audience something to feel good about – which is a very valuable feeling in these times.

Not on social media yet? Or not really got started?

It’s time to sign your business up. Consider where your target audience is most likely to hang out (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok etc.) and focus on one or two main channels.

If you’re not sure what social media is best for your business, get in touch – we’d be happy to help.

We also offer social media startup packages starting from £560+vat – find out more here.

3.   Work on your organic content

Since the coronavirus lockdown, the UK’s internet usage has doubled during the day – according to Virgin Media. This is a great opportunity to put informative, valuable and entertaining content out there because, quite simply, your audience is more likely to be there to pick it up – and have the time to consume it.

Of course, a larger reach potential doesn’t mean that any old content will be a success. Just like your social media content, all of your content needs to be relevant to the current situation with a positive approach that adds value to your prospects or customers’ lives during the pandemic – and after.

How can your content help your target audience?

Reassess your upcoming content strategy and think about your response as a business. For example, if you’re an estate agent who posts monthly blogs to help home sellers on their moving journey, think about what topics you can cover to reassure your clients that you’re the experts to keep their plans on the road – despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Think about the questions your target audience will be asking and how your knowledge can solve this. Also, consider the emotions they’ll be wrestling with and how your experience can reassure and calm them.

Can you update older content to make it relevant during the coronavirus crisis?

You may have published a handy guide in the new year… but reading it now it seems out of place. Address this and adapt it. Chances are a lot of your knowledge and expertise will remain the same but a tweak of language and some additions to address the coronavirus pandemic can transform an ‘out of touch’ piece of content into a relevant, current and super-useful piece of content for your target audience to consume.

From creating entertaining videos to refining informative blog posts, there is a multitude of channels to reach a large portion of your target audience. Overall, doubling down on your content strategy shows that you care by giving genuine support when your target audience likely most needs it. This helps nurture, maintain and even create relationships during these difficult times.

4.   Continue advertising

You may feel that it’s appropriate to radically stop all advertising. You’re nervous about what you want to sell, how you want to position yourself and you’re wondering if it’s actually morally okay to advertise during this time? A sense of ‘advertising guilt’ can follow a crisis.

However, pulling the plug on advertising can have huge ripples effects in the long-term – putting holes in your customer conversion funnel. Instead, we are advising our clients to rethink your advertising strategy – and realign it with other elements of your marketing strategy, such as your organic content.

Ads across social media, search (Google AdWords etc.) and email are cost-effective, low-investment ways to help you stay in touch with your customer base – and drive traffic and leads to your website.

Overall, know that it’s okay to still advertise. Businesses must still operate – and your services and products are needed by society. And as we move out of the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic and get used to this new way of life, your audience actually becomes more receptive to relevant adverts for services and products that add value to their lives.

5.   Evolve your CRM activity

We don’t know how long social distancing measures will last – and how long their effects will impact businesses. So, now more than ever is the right time to enhance every digital aspect of your sales and marketing – through the tools you have at your disposal.

Automate your digital offering

Take a look at your CRM (Client Relationship Management) and clarify what you can automate for an easier and more efficient sales process. Starting from the top, you’ll want to connect your CRM to your website. Through this, you can automate leads and nurture them through a variety of marketing tools such as user-driven content and personalised videos.

Essentially, it’s an opportunity to streamline your marketing function and create a better user experience simultaneously – for long-lasting benefits that will not only overcome the coronavirus challenges but future-proof your business.

Use quiet time to tidy up

On a very practical level, it is also a good opportunity to clean up and segment your database while times are quieter. A task that’s often left by the wayside during ‘business as usual’, tackling this task now will put you in a better position to do more effective and more personalised marketing when business starts to pick up again.

Economic growth is due to fall, by how much is unknown. What will your business do to improve your ability to win and retain clients?

Market your business out of the crisis

So few of us predicated the impact the coronavirus would have on our businesses – us included at Starbots Creative! However, now that it’s happened we’re taking this opportunity to adapt, solve and improve – using what we already know about digital marketing, changing customer demands and shifts in consumer behaviour. The reality is that although shocking at first, it’s not something that we can’t overcome – it’s largely about having the right strategy, tools and mindset to do it.

And by helping our clients navigate the situation, we’re showing them that it’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ and with some clever thinking and quick-acting you can rise above the struggling businesses – to come out on top when the market surges again. Because, it will – eventually. And we might not know when but being ready for it gives your business a stellar chance to prosper when it does.

Speak to us about marketing during the coronavirus crisis

We’re ready to help! As a creative design & digital business, we’re used to everything from fluctuating markets to changing buyer behaviours  – which means we know how to react fast, be flexible and pivot as your business does.

Although not at our usual ‘home’ on West Street in NuL, we’re set up remotely to help our clients across the UK.

From cost-effective and low-investment packages to help you get quickly up-and-running online to something a bit more bespoke and in-depth, we’ve adapted our services to help businesses market successfully out of the coronavirus crisis.

To find out more, get in touch with us today – and ask about our free 30-minute consultations via Zoom. 

It’s a great way for us to learn about your business and offer you some quick-start advice to get your marketing on the right tracks during this crisis.