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Improve Your Marketing Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis

Every business is experiencing different effects from the global COVID-19 Pandemic. While some businesses are just as busy as ever, many businesses across the globe, large and small, have hit with monumental decreases in demand or resources. If you are one of the latter, you may be scrambling to find a way to minimize the long-term effects of the economic downturn. This would stress out even the most prepared and organized manager, and worry the most proficient marketing teams. How can you set your company up for success during an economic downturn? Focus on the small, easily-ignored tasks that will ultimately improve your marketing strategy during COVID-19.  

We all have the tasks we know we need to do that have been sitting on the back-burner for months (or even years) but haven’t touched because of time constraints. These little tasks that are easily put off can be crucial during a time when the little things count. People are looking to companies for security, leniencies, entertainment, and a humanized conversation more than ever. On top of that, our marketing teams are all smaller, remote, and affected by the pandemic. The smallest improvements to company culture and internal processes can greatly increase employee morale.   

If you find yourself with more free time than you wish you had, here are some tasks you can take on that will improve your marketing strategy during COVID-19.  

Without further ado, here is how to improve Your marketing strategy during the COVID-19 Crisis! 

  1. Send outreach to your long-term clients and customers. 


    Right now, outreach doesn’t have to be sales-y, in-depth emails, and social communication. It can seem out of touch to ignore the elephant in the room, so address it with your customers.   

    Reach out with a thank you to current customers  

    A positive shift we’ve seen during the pandemic is that community support is stronger than ever, and customer loyalty is no exception. While everyone is trying to save where they can, many people are doing their part to support struggling businesses. Whether it’s social media shares and shout outs, buying local or giving recommendations to peers, people are turning to the companies that have been there for them and their community. If you have truly impressed clients in the past, chances are some of them have consciously thought about how they can support your business during the economic downturn, and that is a beautiful thing. Sometimes all that is needed is a note that communicates how grateful your company is to have that support, and tell how you are returning the favor. A little thank you note can go a long way with 
    building relationships with customers – old and new.  

    Ask how they are and what you can do to make the experience better.   

    We can all be at a loss for what actions will most help our audience during this unprecedented time. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. If you want to help the community, ask your audience what charities they suggest you support. If you want to make sure your customers continue to support you during this time, ask your audience what leniencies or specials they would appreciate the most. Not only does this show you care, but it also opens a new conversation with your audience and helps you identify your most active customers.  


  2. Check out your Google My Business presence. 


    Use this downtime as an opportunity to maximize your business visibility when things ramp up again. Boosting your Google rankings and visibility is a great way to pull in new customers and hit the ground running.   

    If you are selling local products and services, do a sweep of your Google My Business information. Especially if you are running with limited hours or availability, make sure that information is widely available in your Google My Business information. Otherwise, improve your presence by filling out every section that is relevant to your business, and post updates, specials, and promotions for temporary news. Not only is your business information more effectively communicated, and robust Google My Business profile will make your business look more established and trustworthy.  

    If you aren’t limited to a certain area like local businesses, use your downtime to optimize your website for search engines and improve your Google ranking. While some of this project can get technical, there are simple, non-technical ways to optimize your website. From optimizing metadata to improving your on-page keyword strategy, there are always places to grow, improve, and be seen.  


  3. Ramp up your content strategy. 


    There are endless possibilities and strategies for improving your content strategy. This task will help you in many ways, from ranking better on Google to offering more engaging information and stories to your viewers.   

    Lost on how to get the project started? Make goals of where you want to be visible online – this will help you create a keyword strategy for your content. For example: if you know you want people to see your information when they search for “birthday party ideas in Memphis”, write blogs based on and around that topic. A keyword strategy will organize all of those ranking goals and help your website be seen for the right information.  

    If you have downtime now, write a library of blogs to publish when you’re busy. Future you will thank present you for the foresight. A consistently active blog is beneficial for both your website visitors and Google optimization.   


  4. Update your presence on third-party listings. 


    This has been true for years and it is still true now – links to your website from trusted sources is a great way to be seen on Google. Another aspect of third-party information Google considers when ranking websites is that company information is the same across all platforms. So, make sure that all of the third-party websites you have your information on is up-to-date and consistent. That means having the same address, phone number, and other contact info the same down to the last letter on Facebook, yellow pages, or wherever your info is found.  
     
    This may seem nit-picky, but this information sweep can vastly improve your presence.  


  5. Offer gift certificates or advance purchases. 

    There are many services where no matter how you cut it, just aren’t going to be available until this situation blows over. While those companies will inevitably see a large drop, they don’t need to see a total standstill. You can test this out by shifting to your online value. Make sure you have advance purchase and gift certificates available and offer a special discount for further incentive. Those advance purchases can be marketed as Father’s Day Gifts, birthday present ideas, or any occasion that makes sense your product or service.  

    By offering these advance purchases, you not only can keep revenue coming in, but you can also have relevant and exciting information to share with your followers instead of going radio silent.    


  6. Check in with your social media followers. 


    Don’t fall off the face of the earth on social. Even if you aren’t able to offer your product, going radio silent will only hurt you in the long run. By staying active on social media during this crisis, you can start a conversation that can continue until you can offer services again.  

    Check in with your followers and give them updates on how your company is handling the pandemic, whether it’s about charity work you’ve taken on or how you’re prepping to offer the best possible product when the economy opens back up. These messages can humanize your company and convey to your audience your real priorities during this pandemic. In a world where people are looking for charitable and creative thought leaders, that can make all the difference.  


  7. Run through your end-to-end website user experience. 


    When was the last time you looked at your website? And I mean, really looked at it with the eyes of a customer. It has probably been a while. Sometimes we forget that a website should be regularly updated and improved on, so take some of your downtimes to do an inventory of what changes need to be made.  

    You can conduct a page inventory and check for typos, outdated information, broken links, slow page load times, a confusing purchase process… anything that doesn’t add to a stellar user experience. Many of these things can be fixed with simple editing, but greatly improve the overall website experience. And for anything you can’t fix right away, you will have the to-do list for your team all ready to go.  


  8. Find ways to get involved in the solution. 


    I mention this in our suggestion of having consistent communication with customers, but I want to highlight the importance further. The most well-received messages from businesses right now are those of empathy and charity.
      
    If you can help, do so, and communicate that story to your followers. Everyone is looking for the silver lining, the community heroes, and the good news during a time of instability. Host mask drives, donate to local charities, and send appreciation to front-line workers. If you can be that source of good vibes for your audience, they are likely to react to the efforts you are putting into affecting change in your community and beyond.  


  9. Identify your most productive revenue channels to prioritize going forward. 


    We are all counting our pennies right now, and understanding how you will get the most bang for your buck is key. When you are ready to put money back into your promotion and marketing strategy, make sure you have the most accurate information on how to stretch that dollar.   

    Look at all of your paid and unpaid conversion channels – from Google ads to organic traffic to social ads to print ads. Understand where your time and money are best spent to create a more conservative budget while maximizing productivity. For example, if you don’t get much traction with social ads but have consistent conversions with Google ads, funnel more budget into that revenue channel.   

    This process will help you get your promotion strategy back up and running, and it will help you shape a more productive budgeting strategy for long-term usage and growth.  


  10. Clean up your internal processes. 


    Doing an inventory and analysis of your current processes may seem like it’s not worth the time it takes, but if done right, it can save your team time and sanity. Whether its client-facing presentations or internal reporting spreadsheets, house-keeping tasks can be done to increase the value of this time spent reporting.   

    Let’s consider marketing strategy results reports. Look at the bigger picture of what this data tells you, and if you are getting value out of the information. Then, understand where that data fits in the grand scheme of your marketing strategy. One of the most imperative steps to an agile marketing strategy that is commonly overlooked is referring back to your historical data, to create the roadmap of the strategy going forward. Use your free time to make sure you are reporting on the most important data that will help your strategy going forward.  


  11. Take advantage of all the informational webinars available right now. 


    Learn a new marketing skill, get some ideas, network, and keep your brain sharp during this downtime!  

    Tons of companies and organizations are offering free and public webinars right now – you just need to know where to look. Many general marketing online resources can expand your horizons on opportunities for your company. On top of that, many industry-specific conferences that are usually in-person are getting into the virtual game as well. So a convention that was previously out of reach is now right at your fingertips.   

    The world has never been more digitally connected than right now. Do some research into educational resources for your specific industry to stay up-to-date on the best practices and find new trends to leverage.  

It is a bizarre, stressful, unstable time for almost everyone on the globe right now. Make it more bearable by handling it one day at a time, one moment at a time, and one task at a time. While this pandemic feels permanent right now, businesses will eventually pick back up. And when it does, you’ll be glad to have your marketing strategy refreshed and ready for the challenge. If you need help getting your marketing strategy in fighting shape, reach out to our team!

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