With the government having now provided more clarity regarding the easing of lockdown, more businesses will begin to reopen in the coming weeks and the economy will start reigniting after this long period of dormancy and uncertainty.
So what should your business do to prepare for the new landscape ahead? Marketing should always be seen as a long term strategy but now more than ever a robust plan is needed to ensure your business is well placed to benefit from the reemergence of the economy. The future performance and prosperity of every business is predicated on the action they take now, not by passively waiting until the bounce back has taken effect.
There are many elements to consider for a Covid/post-Covid climate, some of which we have outlined below:
It’s difficult to predict how much behaviour will have changed in the time since lockdown commenced. It’s important to assess how services/products can be modified to fit in with new norms. It’s clear that changes to consumer behaviour and lifestyles have occurred so don’t just blindly follow your previous strategy without reevaluating any shift in your customer’s/client’s behaviour first.
This will differ very much from industry to industry but even very simple A/B testing will provide valuable insight rather than a time-consuming, comprehensive overhaul of your existing strategy.
Whether you’re experiencing an increase, decrease or stagnating traffic levels, consider the customer experience and make any tweaks that could improve this. A quick and straight-forward first step is to optimise your Google My Business listing which allows you to publish posts relating to coronavirus (change of hours, temporary closures or what your business is doing to keep employees safe). We have utilised the new Covid-19 announcement feature which Google released at the start of April for BoConcept, informing customers about how they can book their virtual styling consultation.
Now is a good time to boost your Google reviews. This is an important ranking factor for local SEO and another quick win that boosts your credibility and improves your online reputation.
It’s advisable to continue with any paid advertising if feasible. Even if this is scaled back, ensuring that you maintain brand awareness during this time will help keep your business front of mind. With fewer competitors advertising, this has led to lower CPCs on Google Ads and with more people with time to research many markets are experiencing strong returns. It might also be a good idea to consider paid social advertising. With lower CPCs and increased social engagement, this can be a cost effective channel.
Meeting current and future needs is really important for any business to be successful. Many businesses need to pivot in order to survive. Certain industries have been devastated by this crisis – the hospitality, travel and leisure industries will have to adapt and innovate to have any chance of survival. But more broadly than just these hard hit industries, there is a growing shift to online.
This could be the right time and opportunity to do something new. How can you take your existing services or solutions and provide them in an online environment? It could be developing a new product or repurposing a new service or more simply it could be introducing webinars, thought leadership videos or online product demonstrations. For some businesses it might not lead to immediate sales, but it will enable them to stay relevant in an evolving situation and potentially create future opportunities.
We have been working with Wildgoose for many years. Traditionally, they have provided team building activities globally however with all events now cancelled, they have launched new remote working and virtual team building products.
The tone of communications in all marketing activity is crucial to delivering successful campaigns. And this is more important than ever in order to protect your brand during this time. Many businesses have created enormous amounts of goodwill by showing empathy and compassion for others. Conversely other brands have caused themselves untold damage by demonstrating the opposite. The key advice here is be very mindful of tone and perhaps keep sales messaging more nuanced.
Leading on from the importance of tone, with communities and businesses needing to come together more than ever, you should be living and promoting your values as a company and ensuring that everyone in your business is feeling supported. Customer loyalty and goodwill built up over many years will help a lot of businesses survive through these toughest of times and this needs to be leveraged as much as possible.
Supporting the NHS has been a very effective strategy in this regard and there have been many great examples – Pret supporting NHS workers with it providing all food at a 50% discount and restaurants across the country including our clients, buffet restaurant chain Cosmo providing meals to NHS workers. Watford FC has even opened its doors to its neighbour the local hospital turning its spacious conference facilities into a wellbeing facility for all hospital staff to use for free. There are many amazing initiatives such as these that have ensured that communities are supported and have simultaneously provided very positive PR (internally and externally).
Marketing investment is a long-term strategy
Many businesses have been affected financially by this pandemic and the impact may be more long lasting than we had first hoped. The businesses that will benefit from this crisis in the long term will be those that protected their brand but had the courage to promote their services/products to keep front of mind.