Marketing in times of uncertainty

What’s going on now?

This winter and spring, almost every government has focused on fighting the coronavirus and reducing deaths. Because of this, the economy is changing. Obviously, demand is growing in some industries, mainly for reasons related to the coronavirus. And in others it falls catastrophically.

While the quarantine is in effect, we do not go to bars, restaurants, cinema and bowling and do not rest as we are used to. During self-isolation, we do not need fashionable clothes and haircuts. And all this affects the business.

Cutting costs → cutting sales → layoffs → climate of fear …

This leads to cost savings on the part of businesses because they know the demand is not so great anymore. This leads to lower investment and layoffs. And this creates an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty about the future.

Over time, everything will return to normal. Of course, we all worry about how long it will take to recover. However, in the end, after 3-18 months, the economy will recover. In the meantime, we need to change marketing and attitude towards customers, and this can be done in three ways.

Three important points

1. Cut with a scalpel, not a chainsaw

The first thing you want to do during a crisis is to cut costs and save on everything you can. But it is very important not to overdo it and not “cut with a chainsaw”. You could just say, “Oh, let’s just look at all our Google and Facebook ad spend and cut them completely,” or “Let’s look at all of our content marketing investments and ditch them altogether.” But this is a mistake that will only lead to even more customer churn.

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Instead, you need to adjust your marketing strategy carefully, like with a scalpel, examining each channel and the impact on it.

We advise you to conduct a spot audit of the site, in the most important area, and work with the most promising areas, planning work in sprints (that is, for a period of 7 days). It is hardly justified to calculate tasks and pay now as before, by months: the situation is changing too quickly.

Use a set of marketing tools, and for each analyze the return on investment, ROI. To determine it, divide the revenue from a specific ad channel by its spending and multiply by 100%. If the indicator is positive, everything is in order, and this marketing tool should not be turned off.

Analyze the data not only for two to three weeks, but also for 6-12 weeks: this will help you understand which tools in general are most effective in your case. Perhaps a channel is performing worse now than before, but it has prospects. Look deep into the channel: identify the most effective keywords that drive traffic to your site and strengthen your work with them.

2. Invest in the development of your project

This is not the first crisis in the history of the economy. And companies that have made a huge leap forward after past crises have acted in the same way: they thought about the future ahead of time. They spent time and money developing their business, no matter how frightening it was in the face of uncertainty.

When the fight against the virus is over, the economy will begin to recover. This will be a new life, likely much more focused on online sales. What then will be interesting to people? How and what will they buy? If you prepare for this and invest in the development of your project, in the content that users want to receive, you can win. You will simply be better prepared than your competitors who back down and scale back their marketing.

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Vaccines are already under development and you don’t even have to wait for all people to get well. It is enough just to remove the basic restrictions, and this is already happening.

We understand how difficult it is to develop your project now, so all our clients can take advantage of bonuses. We give free hours of work for a copywriter, content manager or other specialists, choosing those works that are most needed for the site right now.

3. Consider context

In a quarantine environment, people pay a lot of attention to how companies behave online. And if you do marketing, they see and appreciate the work.

This means you need to be empathetic. Now the audience doesn’t think about the same thing as a few weeks ago. The way people think has changed, and this applies to almost everyone on the planet. We all worry about the same thing.

The best type of content you can create, the best type of marketing you can use, is that which can help other people. Museums run virtual tours, educational and entertainment platforms provide free access to people … Does this help healthcare providers get masks? Not. But does this help people who stay at home with their children to have fun, to escape from the crisis, to do art? Yes. And this is good. If you can help at least someone and a little – help.

It is worth acknowledging that this crisis is affecting your customers and talking about things that may not be directly related to the virus and the cure, but are still good for them.

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And if you can, try not to ignore people’s problems. Do not release products that could have been released six months earlier without changes. Adapt them. Everything that companies do is viewed by people through the prism of coronavirus and quarantine – these are modern realities.

Don’t exploit the crisis by saying, “These are the times of the coronavirus. We’re having a sale”. Better say, “We are offering a discount on our products because we know there is a crisis and we are helping doctors by donating 10% of our income to developing a vaccine.” Or: “We want to help and offer you (something you can do at home with your family, or something that will help you with remote work, or something that will help you get through all the difficulties).” That is, offer something that your customers go through.

Look at your emails, website pages, social media. Make sure you don’t ignore the crisis. Hardly every page on your site and every marketing message needs to change. But in many cases, it’s worth analyzing your content and rewriting it.

I wish you success!

Based on Rand Fishkin’s Marketing in Times of Uncertainty

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