2020 has come with a lot of challenges.
Coronavirus. COVID-19. Pandemic. Weirdness. No matter what you call it – this is definitely a time of uncertainty. We’ve been getting questions about what type of marketing is appropriate and if companies should even keep marketing plan going. We say yes, absolutely – continue with your marketing plan as best you can – though reconsider your message and make tweaks to it and your budget as need. These are the top three things we advise clients to think about when reassessing your marketing plan.
Tone & Messaging
Amid the uncertainty, people don’t want to be “sold” to. It is important to ensure that your product or service does not seem more important than the needs of our community. Be sure that the tone of your messaging is not salesy or overt; instead, now is a time to be supportive, educational and compassionate. Show the human side of your business. People want to support their local small businesses, so a gentle reminder that you’re still open and available – and what precautions you are taking – can be key messaging.
The coronavirus crisis has substantially increased news consumption for mainstream media in all six countries where we conducted surveys before and after the pandemic had taken effect. Television news and online sources have seen significant upticks, and more people identify television as their main source of news, providing temporary respite from a picture of steady decline. Consumption of printed newspapers has fallen as lockdowns undermine physical distribution, almost certainly accelerating the shift to an all-digital future.
People are online. They can’t go out to meet family and friends. They are on social media, video chats and online shopping. They are also, however, watching the TV news. The Reuters Digital News Report 2020 indicated that for the first time in a long time, more people are identifying television as their main source of news
Despite being at home – we are seeing that with many clients, a surprisingly large amount of their digital visitors are still using their smart phones to access content. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms have become a major source of news and social connection. Clients who are investing dollars on social media content, engagement and advertising are seeing great results. It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to be successful with social media advertising. Small businesses with budgets of all sizes can effectively advertise in Facebook with just dollars per day – though the more you spend, the more people you’ll reach. With the loss of reach through sporting and event sponsorships, targeting by affinity, interest, zip code, income, etc. will help get your message in front of the right audience(s). We’ve helped create great gains in awareness and lead generation with small budgets. Plus, the analytics and targeting features are so deep, there is a lot to learn about your messaging and audience. Now, more than ever, social media advertising is hard to beat when it comes to ROI.
Likewise, Pinterest should not be overlooked. Remodeling projects, family get togethers, vacations and more might be put on hold for now, but the desire to plan and get them accomplished doesn’t go away. With people stuck at home, they’re making plans and gathering their ideas on Pinterest – the world’s most popular visual search application. Now is an excellent time to build brand awareness and educate users so that when they reach the research and pricing phase of their buyer’s journey, your products and services are already on their radar (and Pinterest board!).
Last, but definitely not least – investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) is also a great way to reach your target audience online, when they’re looking for your exact product or service – driving traffic to your website. Creating targeted and specific landing pages that address your company’s offerings – as well as what you are doing to ensure the health of your customers and employees – reassures your audience that you’re the right people for the job.
Team Up to Increase Reach
Now, more than ever, people are turning to one another for support. This includes the business community, both locally and nationally. One way to reach new and potential customers is to collaborate with vendors, suppliers and partners to amplify your messages across audiences – essentially turning your network into a third-party endorsement. If your partners trust you – and their clients trust them – it can be the better than any random review online.