7 marketing ideas that your business can implement quickly with toughening market conditions.
As the crisis of coronavirus disease 2020 (COVID-19) is unfolding in front of us, everyone is being effected and businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling the impact. Quickly changing Quarantine restrictions are keeping customers away from bricks and mortar retail stores, a casing point being the hospitality sector which is suffering badly. Logistical issues are making accommodating e-commerce sales very difficult, and manufacturing closures across the world are meaning that businesses are running out of stock.
But what can brands do now to take decisive action? And what best practice could they follow to try to navigate the crisis and mitigate impact?
The key to getting through this is being as nimble as possible. Rethinking your marketing efforts to make them more relevant and keeping your finger on the pulse with changing policies, consumer behaviour and Government guidelines.
We have created a list of ideas that businesses and brands could consider to pivot their marketing positively with toughening market conditions.
1. Don’t Hard Sell, Show Support
As a marketer, the most important question you should be asking yourself right now is not ‘How can I sell more?’. Instead, it is ‘How can we support customers during this time?’ You product that was a good fit for the market need last week, may not be a good fit anymore and that’s not to say that keeping revenue flowing isn’t important, because it is, and it’s the only way that we are collectively going to get through this, by pacing forward. However, now is the time to look closer, in more granular detail at the challenges your customers, peers, suppliers, and partners are facing and try to identify areas where you can show unconditional support, perhaps even tweaking existing products or services to suit current demand.
We have seen incredible examples of this support in Scotland, from the likes of Brewdog altering their production line to produce hand sanitiser, and brick and mortar businesses clearing space for food bank collections in times of short supply.
The support from your brand, however small, will go a really long way in helping the collective through the other end. And what I would say, is don’t be scared to show real transparency by asking for help too.
2. Ensure Brand Safety and relevancy in your Ads
It’s important that you place your ads in the right context, and during this sensitive time, you need to pay more attention than ever to where your ads are seen. Placing travel ads in China right now, for example, will be viewed as inappropriate considering the government’s strict travel restrictions.
To avoid creating a negative brand impression and damaging your brand reputation you need to extend your supportive message to your Ads strategy
Even if you are in an industry that has been heavily affected by the new restrictions put in place, these restrictions won’t last forever and instead of trying to make a sale you could focus on building a pool of prospects ready to market to when things settle again. Even if you are collecting email addresses for now, you are building a list of people that are already aware of your brand and are therefore easier to sell to in future.
However, if you are fortunate enough to be in a position to still sell, then still sell – a lot of our clients are continuing to sell their products or services however the tone of voice and language has most definitely changed in the ad copy. Less of the hard sell, more ‘We would like to support our customers as much as possible through this difficult time by offering….’. This could be a discount, a guide, a free gift etc and of course should be tailored to your product/service. Even if your product/service can’t be used right now, now is the opportunity to introduce gift vouchers, payment plans, buy now pay later options to ease cashflow difficulties.
3. Be proactive with your communication
Try not to bury your head in the sand.
If your business is currently facing high demand for certain products or experiencing logistical delays, or if you are struggling to get stock due to manufacturing closures, keeping your customers informed is crucial.
By keeping customers updated on estimated delivery times, and making them aware of why the delays are happening and what they can expect, you can reduce frustration levels and prevent them from looking elsewhere.
To ensure you can reach your customers and respond to their questions or complaints in time, use multichannel communication to engage them, whether that is through website, email, social, or push notifications. Such an approach will bring your consumers into ever closer contact with your brand.
You can begin by creating a tone of voice document which clearly states your policy in the current circumstances and sets out how you are going to communicate to your audience with things such as language used, do’s and don’ts and style of writing.
From here you can brainstorm a communications strategy and map out how, when and where you are going to communicate your clients. This will need to be fluid, so something as simple as using a Google Calendar will work.
4. Learn from your competitors Facebook Ads
The above link will allow you to look at your competitors Facebook Ads. If you are unsure how to change your tone of voice, or are scared about putting out a particular message, it could help to take a look at how your competitors are adapting to the situation. And don’t rule out reaching out to them, if you are operating in an industry that has been hit hard then the people in other businesses may be willing to collaborate, share ideas and show support.
5. List your audiences questions
Social listening is critical at the moment, listening intently to the problems and challenges that your customers are facing and then putting in time to crafting content that can answer these questions and add value.
Get a notepad or flipchart and note down every question that your customers have ever asked you.
Call your customers and check in with them and see what challenges they are facing.
Try to do this exercise when your mind is most creative and relaxed.
The underpinning focus of content marketing is to answer your prospects questions to build their confidence and trust.
By understanding the problems and questions that your audience have, and crafting your content to explicitly answer these, you can remove friction and build trust with them and it will help inform your product development process because you are constantly improving your product/market fit.
6. Know your numbers
The traffic coming to your website is going to fluctuate hugely over the coming months, meaning that there has never been a more important time to consider looking at your conversion rates both online and offline. This is something we call CRO (conversion rate optimisation) and with traffic being unstable it is the perfect time to ensure that your website or your customer experience is optimised to convert people that land on your site or walk into your store. When we are designing these experiences for our customers we talk a lot about friction points, and often make the comparison of your website being your virtual shopfront. Here’s a few things to consider:
1. The usability of your site – is it easy for visitors to navigate through the site without much “friction”?
2. Is the copy written in a way that is easy to read, does it need restructured and could the language be changed? Is the copy full width of cropped? People don’t have the time to read full width copy so make sure it is centred.
3. Do you answer all the questions that a customer has? If you do this through frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) then are these easy to navigate to from the home page?
4. What is your call to action and is it visible above the fold on the home page?
5. What distracting information is visible on your website that may be drawing attention away from your main sales message?
6. What is the speed of your site? A slow page load time will put customers off and they will click away. Check your page load speed at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
I believe that this could truly save businesses over the coming months, particularly if your products are of high value or you have an e-commerce business.
The starting point for this is to ensure that you have tools such as Google Analytics, and Google Search Console set up on your website so that you can analyse the behaviour of traffic on your site. This is usually combined with a deep piece of keyword, competitor and content research and an audit of your full website to identify opportunities to tighten up your customer experience and sales funnel. At Outlaw we carry out SEO AND CRO website audits every week and we can help you get the process started if it can help you positively in this tough time.
7. Get creative
We have been overwhelmed with how much creativity we have seen over the past week. We have seen restaurants over home delivery services overnight, online retailers offer virtual wine tasting classes in group format, and a raft of businesses adapting to home working methods.
If you are a service based business you could look at how you could adapt your products to be suitable for online. If you are a fitness provider you could explore home workouts via zoom, and if you have bricks and mortar premises you could even look at how you could temporarily provide a food bank collection point to help with the national food shortage.
Whatever your business, try to slow down and take a step back from the grind. Think creatively about how you can solve the problems you face and hopefully you will find a solution that can help your business and your community.
If the recovery from coronavirus is similar to SARS, it is predicted that business should be back to normal by June. However, with the market as it is right now, make sure you show support to your customers, keep lines of communication open with them, and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly, you will be in a strong position to keep your brand safe until then and into the future.
If you think you could benefit from a chat you can book a slot using Calendly: https://calendly.com/outlawsocial/30min