Marketing during COVID-19

We are living in strange and uncertain times. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many of us to stop and think about the way we live and work. We’ve seen industries grind to a halt and companies collapse entirely. With no clear path ahead, it can be difficult to know how to proceed as a business.
Should you keep calm and carry on? 
Or should you batten down the hatches and ride out the storm?
We believe that the best option is to continue with business as usual, as much as is reasonable. The health of your staff, customers and the wider community should naturally come first. But this doesn’t mean that you have to stop your marketing in its tracks.
Try to think of your marketing activities like a ship’s engine. Once stopped, they take a long time to start up again. So if you choose to stop marketing your business entirely, you risk losing momentum at a time when we all need to be focussing on moving forward through this disaster.
No company wants to be seen to be profiting from fear and panic that seems to be as contagious as the virus itself. But people are also craving normalcy. If your company can continue to trade, with a few adjustments to operations, then you absolutely should. In this article, we will look at how you can adjust your marketing activities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Discover new PPC opportunities

When demand is down, the knee jerk reaction is to stop PPC activity altogether to save money. But as Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
Before you decide to pause marketing activities, ask yourself, are your competitors still marketing? If they are, you cannot afford to take yourself out of the game. And if they aren’t, this offers a great opportunity to dominate the SERP (search engine results pages). With less competition, you’ll enjoy lower prices. Use this as a time to test new landing pages and messages while the cost per click is lower. 
While companies and consumers might not be making big purchasing decisions at this time, when they return to work, they will be keen to get things moving again.

Adjust your social media messaging

Your usual social media activity might not be appropriate at this time, but this doesn’t mean you should fall silent. You can still connect with your customers and let them know about any relevant updates. People are hungry for information, so you have a chance to be a resource to your wider community.

Reassure your customers with email

The way we work has changed quite drastically. Many people have switched to home working, so you don’t have to worry about your emails being missed. But you do have to worry about your emails missing the mark.
Think about what you can do to make life easier for your customers. We’ve seen companies offering discounts and free shipping during this trying time. We’ve seen the likes of Tesco and Morrisons offer clear guidelines on how customers who are self-isolating can get the items they need. And we’ve seen many small businesses let their customers know how they plan to continue trading.
Whatever you are doing to help contain the spread of the virus, it will only be effective if your customers know about it. So if you’re changing the way you do business, temporarily closing your showroom or switching to phone sales, use email to let you customers know.

Invest in the future with retargeting

As we’ve mentioned above, while companies and consumers might not be making big purchasing decisions at the moment, COVID-19 won’t be here forever. When social distancing measures are relaxed and life returns to normal, business will quickly pick up again. By setting up retargeting now, you are investing in your future.
When life returns to normal, you’ll have the opportunity to reach the people who visited your website during the downturn in business. You can read more about planning a remarketing strategy here.

Work smarter, not harder

As you may have seen from our previous blog post, it’s business as usual here at Auburn HQ. But this doesn’t mean we aren’t adapting the way we work. We’re determined to work smarter, not harder. We don’t want to add to the stress!
If you rely on showroom traffic for sales, think about how you can connect with your customers through phone support or even video calling. And while people might be avoiding appointments right now, they may be looking to book appointments for the future. Think about how you can make your website work harder to help you recover faster. Moving your appointment booking form above the fold on your homepage will send a clear message that you’re still open for business. 
You may discover that some of these measures to keep your business ticking along could become the norm. If virtual tours are popular with customers, they could find a place in your long-term marketing strategy. Customers are expecting a small amount of disruption to the way we do business. So why not use this time to shake up the way you do business?

We’re not slowing down

The Auburn team is very lucky that we can work from home and continue to achieve incredible results for our clients during this difficult time. Now, more than ever, consistency in your marketing efforts is key to success. It’s well documented that companies that don’t slow down during a period of disruption often come out on top.

Further information

For the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak, please refer to government guidelines found here.
And for information on support available to your business during these trying times, please refer to information found here.