May 5, 2020// Category: Digital Marketing
It’s no secret that the coronavirus has completely decimated our society as we know it for months now. In fact, in America alone, according to the Center for Disease Control, there have been 1.06 million cases and 61,669 deaths. This number only continues to increase even with social distancing, lockdown, and safety precautions although it has been shown that this continual increase is slowing bit by bit.
However, the question that many business owners are asking themselves is how they can possibly make money, market their business, and continue to survive during a crisis the likes of which our country has never truly seen before. To answer this question, we must first analyze the impact that this virus has had on the market, how to continue to promote your brand in a respectful manner despite it, and when it is time to actually move back to regular operations. In doing so, we can get a grip on this situation and come out of it without a scratch.
Although the true impact is hard to determine based on the varying industries, variables, and numbers, the main facts are as follows:
So what can we make of this as business owners looking to try and stay afloat during this worldwide crisis? Well, it’s simple; the answer is in the increase in Jeff Bezos’ net worth and the increase in various company’s stocks during the pandemic.
Why? Because although this pandemic that has struck our world and terrorized every industry and market greatly, these companies have found a way to actually profit by using respectful marketing and finding a way to make their services fit the needs of those facing the virus worldwide.
Instead of moving forward with Prime Day, Bezos opted to publicly state that he did not feel this day was befitting of the current climate. While some may think this would actually lead to a loss in revenue, his ability to prove his sympathy for our countless infected and their families only made more individuals want to head to Amazon to buy products from him out of respect for his decision.
Similarly, by the company promoting its essentials found on the site and providing information about hot products like toilet paper, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer on their page, they are encouraging these purchases on the site, instead of at physical stores. While this may seem direct, by encouraging people to not leave their homes, they are actually promoting social distancing all while advertising their remote store solutions in the process.
Lastly, although most companies don’t have $100 million to simply give away, Jeff Bezos openly and publicly made a $100 million donation to Coronavirus relief programs recently stating that it was his first but certainly not his last donation during this trying time. While many critics read right through the ‘selfless’ act, if done correctly, donations or volunteer work that is done by your company and shared by others can actually be an amazing way to promote your company whilst still being sensitive to the current pandemic.
Given this information and this model as to how to still successfully market during this global pandemic, it’s time we delve deeper into what exactly marketing during this time would look like for small and medium-sized businesses instead of billion-dollar Fortune 500 giants.
While your standard marketing operations are focused on the products or services you offer and the target audiences you have mapped out that would enjoy these products or services, Covid-19 marketing is a whole other ballgame.
The main focus of this form of marketing is simply making a name for yourself by showing how your products or services can be used during this pandemic in a way that others can’t as well as promoting your involvement and generosity in your community and country as a whole. To do these two things, simply follow the five steps below and see your company grow even during this trying time.
The way online stores and B2C businesses typically drew customers before Mid-March has been affected greatly by the pandemic. As of March 19th, most physical shops are closed or greatly altered, and normal marketing efforts may appear insensitive. Furthermore, unless you sell hand sanitizer, toilet paper or PPE, you likely have experienced a sharp drop in demand. As such, your best bet is to strengthen your sales funnel to at least catch every individual that does view your site during this time period.
To explain why this works so well, let’s go back to the Amazon example seen above for a moment. The reason Amazon is flourishing during this time is due to their online store and the way that it expertly attracts and keeps customers. In this way, optimizing your sales funnel will allow you to provide the convenience that is needed during this crisis and see similar—albeit not as absurdly successful—results.
According to SalesForce, “A sales funnel represents the ideal path companies hope buyers take to become customers. Most companies use the funnel concept as a method to track prospects as they move through sales stages and to align marketing and sales targets, activities, and processes…The sales funnel is one of the most fundamental concepts in sales and marketing. The top of the funnel signifies the goal of every business — to generate as many leads as possible — while the narrow bottom reflects how many of those leads are converted to customers by the end of the sales process.”
An example of a sales funnel would be a promotion announced on Instagram, leading to a landing page where customers can enter their email to receive a promo code for a discount, and a link from the email to your shopping pages. And of course, with that email, even if the customer doesn’t purchase, announcing new promotions and releases with timely, but sensitive messaging every-so-often, driving customers back to the site.
In order to do so, one way that many companies find success is by ‘dummy-testing’ the entire buying process and site experience from start to finish. To do this, simply ask a friend of yours to go from start to finish through your current sales funnel and ask them to let you know about any hiccups they experienced, slow parts, or areas that lost their interest. They can also tell you parts that really intrigued them or were successful in their eyes so you can determine what parts of your sales funnel are working and which ones need work.
With this information, you can create a sales funnel that attracts potential customers and seals the deal without you lifting a finger to help. If you find yourself stuck at any point along the way, you can also seek out Ecommerce web design services in order to help attract the eye, ensure that your site is an effective step in your funnel.
With a high-quality sales funnel in place that is sure to seal the deal on any potential client that comes your way, the next step is to make yourself a public icon for the pandemic. The key to this is to be truly sincere and to only donate or volunteer if you truly feel that you want to and that your service will help in your local community. If the donation seems ingenuine or your volunteer work appears forced, you will only make yourself seem like you are trying to profit off of the struggles of your community which is rarely a good look. However, if done right and with sincerity in mind, you can quickly and easily see true results without actually marketing your business at all.
In fact, according to the Edelman goodpurpose survey, “72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t; a 39% increase since 2008.”
In order to do this effectively, you will want to prepare public statements about your donations or involvement in local relief groups. A good way to go about this without seeming like you are tooting your own horn is to encourage others on social media to either donate as well or volunteer as you have.
In doing so, you can create a name for yourself in your community, help out your local area during this devastating time, and also promote your brand without paying a cent in advertising whatsoever.
The same can be said about your site content and business as a whole. Being able to pivot your content and mission to emulate the current crisis is a good way not only to show your support of those struggling in this trying time but to also show that you deserve the support your target audience gives you.
For instance, if your company is a clothing brand, you may want to start creating face masks, like these sisters in Orange County and even encouraging others to make fabric donations for the cause. This can be a great way to nonchalantly market your business whilst also making a difference.
A great example of this can be seen with Jeffree Star Cosmetics. By showcasing how he opted to focus his labs’ efforts on hand sanitizer rather than a product line that is sure to make him millions, he showed that he truly does care about those in need and the response was hundreds of thousands of likes and comments all promoting his brand and stating that they would absolutely buy the new product line now knowing what a selfless act he is partaking in.
No matter what form of assistance you give, all that matters is that it is genuine and that you market it appropriately on your social media platforms.
Another way that you can create a name not only in your community but in your industry and in the world during this global pandemic is by offering a great deal on your products or services to help people that have been impacted financially.
You can also donate a percentage of your profits to a coronavirus relief fund as well to make a point about how your company is there to help despite the struggles you are facing as well in this chaos. This shows that you are willing to do things you don’t have to simply to help out your community and your customers which makes your brand more likeable by nature.
In order to truly make a profitable discount, you will want to take into account your margins, your full process from order to delivery, and what your results are so you can track your client habits and whether or not the clients you have acquired from your sales will be return customers. According to Score, “If possible, find out if customers who used your discount coupons have purchased from you before at full price. You might start by simply asking them. Remember that coupons can reactivate old customers who’ve forgotten about you or moved to a competitor.”
4. Focus Your Social Media Marketing on Covid-19 Information
When it comes to social media during this crisis, your best bet is not to simply promote your products, but to become a voice in the cacophony of out-of-touch companies in your given industry.
While they desperately try to stay relevant, focus your efforts on posting local news about the cases in your area, volunteer opportunities, how this virus will affect your industry or the industry of your target audience, things to take your audience’s mind off the chaos, and any particular products or services that you feel might be useful given the pandemic.
For instance, if your company was an animal rescue, you would likely opt for these three types of social media posts during this time and nothing else:
“Covid-19 has struck our community incredibly hard in the last few months so we thought we would share some photos of some of our furry friends to help desaturate the social media chaos posts. Enjoy and be sure to check out (insert site link) for more!”
“As many of you know, we at (insert business name) are located in Los Angeles, California where countless have been affected by Covid-19. This has devastated countless small businesses and many of our very own customers have been negatively affected by the results of this devastating time in our society, That’s why we decided to volunteer with (insert organization) to truly make a difference. We implore all of our followers to do the same or at least donate to the cause. Every dollar helps! Thanks and much love from our entire team!”
“Did you know that pets have recently been found to be infected with Covid-19? This means it’s time for pet owners to take pet health very seriously. As such, we would like to recommend that all of our followers check out our extensive line of pet cleaning products today! Use the discount: Covid to get 20% off from now until the end of the month!”
By using these methods, you can ensure that your business creates calls to action that lead to actual sales with ease. You can also ensure that you do not make any insensitive posts that may lead to a loss in followers or online support during the pandemic.
Lastly, in conjunction with the sales funnel, you can actually use your blog not only to create relevant promotional content pertaining to the virus but to also promote your brand in a nonchalant manner in doing so.
For instance, if your brand is a sports equipment brand, you may want to create content pertaining to the cancelled sports seasons, how to stay active even during the virus, and how the virus will affect sports in the future both financially and physically.
By finding ways to mix your industry or the industry of your target audience with the virus, you can create content that your potential clients will be sure to view and find interesting without fail.
While the content itself may not lead to a sale, this becomes yet another way to get individuals on your site and one step closer to falling down your sales funnel and into the proverbial checkout aisle.
With all of this information in mind, you may be asking yourself when you can simply get back to normal and stop worrying about the future of your company and your life as a whole. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is simply up-in-the-air which is even more reason to enact this new marketing plan in full-force to stay afloat given all the uncertainty and chaos.
If we can simply hold on, respect the safety protocols, and use our skills to market responsibly, we are sure to see the decline we are hoping for and the resurrection of our job market in no time.