The moment that the WHO announced that the new Coronavirus is a pandemic seems ages ago. With the amount of information we receive each day about the global status and how it is being affected by COVID-19, each day feels like a week – and makes company owners feel high levels of anxiety and uncertainty.
Companies around the globe starting to experience a decrease in sales in the midst of a pandemic can be pretty overwhelming, especially now, being at the peak of a situation that seems too unreal.
But I’m not here to spread more worry. I’m here to tell you that it’s not over. It’s time for your brand to kick its advertising efforts into high-gear, in a smart, effective, positive, and innovative way. Let’s get started.
Leave Uncertainty Aside and Take Action
It’s no news that the global economy is taking a hit because of this pandemic, forcing many to take unprecedented action, brainstorm solutions constantly, close offices, have employees work from home, and tweaking strategies to pull in some revenue.
All of the above is true, but let me offer my pat on the back my friends…because all is not lost. There are still efforts you can make to pull in as much revenue as possible in the midst of a crisis. We’ve come a long way since the dot com bubble burst and the 2008 economic crisis. And while some are too afraid to do anything about it, the ones that “roll with the punches” come out on top – and this doesn’t always correlate to the number of resources you count with.
Most of the time, it has to do with how smart and creative you can be.
Throughout this guide, I’m going to review advertising and marketing strategies that will keep your business afloat and loyal customers close. Yes, you can still gain leverage on your competition and create brand awareness that generates leads.
Assessing the Damage & Maintaining Digital Efforts
Reality check. It’s a tough situation and you’re counting your assets and resources as we speak. But this pandemic should not put a halt on your advertising efforts, now is the time to “hit the gas”. This doesn’t mean you have to spend all your revenue on advertising, it means that you’ll have to be meticulous to be successful.
Apart from watching your spending and ensuring your strategies are working, you will also need to stay innovative – which we will go over in a bit.
On the other hand, coronavirus seems to be the only thing on everyone’s minds at the moment, and it’s true. It’s a pandemic in the midst of a social media era, what can we expect? The truth is, everyone is being affected and feeling anxious about what the future holds – especially small businesses, the backbones of the economy.
But here’s the deal, most consumers are turning to social media to gain a sense of community while on quarantine or self-isolation. This is one of the main reasons why your company must continue to creatively advertise and deliver quality content that fulfills your consumer’s unique needs.
Because one thing we don’t know is how long this will last and how will it continue affecting businesses. And while traditional advertising will take a bit hit, brands will opt to focus on digital ads instead.
Online Advertising Will Increase
Depending on the product or service you offer, it is essential that you bear in mind that your core audience is most likely online most of their time during quarantine days. Don’t take my word for it, experts are predicting a huge increase in digital ad spend over the next few months – due to consumers not being able to leave their homes.
Social and mobile opportunities are increasing as people travel less and work from home. A recent study conducted by Global Web Index found that there is an impactful increase in activity in social media across all age demographics, this includes:
- 15% Boomers
- 29% Gen X
- 30% Millennials
- 27% Gen Z
Invest in Advertising Efforts on Social Media
When I say invest, I mean investments backed by testing and experimenting strategies. Now is not the time to go spending all your resources – although I’m guessing you already know this. What this is a good time for is to ensure your marketing efforts are working to perfection (or what this means for your business).
How to ensure they are working? Well, in terms of advertising, make sure you are creating brand awareness. This is the perfect time to get your hands busy in creating unique and engaging ads, video ads, and content that your potential consumers can look for to keep them busy – and buy from you.
Ask yourself: what efforts can your brand make to appeal to the current necessity of your consumers? You must understand that this is a moment of self-isolation in which many are making social media a part of their daily routines (more than ever) to keep connected and in touch with loved ones.
According to recent reports, it is predicted that social media spending will rise by 22.2% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And there’s been a huge jump on Instagram ad posts over the past weeks with an amazing 76% increase. So, if you know your brand can potentially have, or already has, a strong social media presence, tap into it!
Think About Branded Content your Consumers are Looking For
In the midst of a crisis, thinking caps are to be on. Think hard about the content people are expecting to consume.
As creators, company owners, facilitators, and providers we have the responsibility of being conscious about the content being published. Consumers are in need of support and community from their favorite brands – and guess what? Social media is an excellent vehicle to deliver this.
Brands will need to be as present as ever and deliver and deliver content and products that are of true consideration for your consumer. If you don’t have such a product, make sure you communicate in a considerate manner during this time. It’s not the best time to sound too “salesly”, even if selling is your goal.
Communicate in a way that doesn’t hurt your brands’ narrative. Don’t make Coronavirus your angle for selling. Your brand should communicate how it is contributing to the global climate. If you’re taking advantage – in the wrong way – it shows!
A clear example of needed content during this time revolves around how to keep physically and mentally healthy during quarantine. This will naturally interest your consumers. However, make sure your messages are optimistic, your consumers should still feel excited about the world after reading your content/ads.
Further along this article, I’m going to share a few examples of successful brands advertising in an optimistic manner.
Focus on Conversions
I know your main focus is converting… isn’t that what it’s all about? Yes. However, you need to create an impactful digital marketing technique to focus solely on conversion rate optimization. This means making small changes to your user’s journey or marketing funnel to turn more of your visitors into customers.
How? Here are a few tips:
- Create positive content regarding your business –Look back on your case studies, reviews, and recommendations and use them in your marketing and advertising efforts. Share this on social media and create awareness about how your brand is generating (and has generated) a positive impact.
- Customer Experience – After your spread positivity, ensure that your website offers a quick and personalized experience. It’s not a time to make huge changes that can cost you money. Remember, there are small changes on your website that can impact final results exponentially – do that!
Always Measure Your Results
When you don’t measure, you don’t have a clear North – which means you don’t know where you’re going. When this happens, it’s likely that you are throwing money down the drain.
Measuring gives you accountability for your next marketing move in terms of design, strategy, and conversions. Measure against your success criteria and the following:
- Number of leads generated
How? There are a few ways:
- Make sure your Google Analytics is configured correctly – You need all the basic data that drive your marketing efforts. Set up goals, connect a Search Console, and define what you need to measure. Google Analytics offers tons of free data that can help you shape your strategy, tap into it!
- Measure Social Media ROI – Budget is getting tight. You need to make tough and well-informed decisions on how you’re spending your resources. One option is to pull the brake on your social media activity altogether. It is very time consuming and sometimes, a non-essential activity. But before you do this, explore how social media is really contributing to your visibility, engagement, and conversions.
- If you find that social media marketing is not what will – at the end of the day-, drive results to your company, set it aside and invest in something that is working for you and bringing in the money.
Never Stop Testing & Learning
Even in the midst of a pandemic, testing, learning, and testing again is the never-ending cycle that successful brands have. But you must know this: There is no correct way to do digital marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or answer. You need to find your own – testing and learning is the way.
And in times of crisis, you need to be as creative and innovative as possible. But you need to be aware of your analytics in order to learn from your experiments.
Follow this process for success:
- If you are experimenting with a new strategy, it should be quick, inexpensive, and easy to execute.
- If it works, awesome! Do more of it.
- If it doesn’t work as expected, kill it and move on. No harm is done. Be ruthless and quick, say “next”! You will have tested something, learned, and allowed yourself to move from it to experiment with something new.
Make Innovation Your Best Bet
Successful companies make innovation one of their core values. In times like this, it is essential for companies to be looking over the horizon. If you consider yourself one to “roll with the punches” you need to stay innovative. This will allow you to make the best of a delicate situation and potentially, come out on top.
- Use technology to your consumers’ advantage: What are the tools you can put to good use to ensure that your clients are getting personalized and customized information? To name a few examples, go live on social media, create Zoom meetings to help your customers shop. Take advantage and make their experience unforgettable.
- Serve messages that speak to consumers during this time. Spark conversations with your clients and let them know you are putting in the effort to make their shopping experience as breezy as possible. Let them know how you are taking advantage of technology to help them.
- Stand out with the design. Now is the time to kick your digital efforts up a notch. Get creative and make relatable content. Make sure your digital advertising looks good and crisp. Yes, people want to stay informed but they still want to be blown away by creative content that keeps them busy – and consuming.
- Don’t be afraid. It is an anxious time for everyone, but sooner or later, it will pass. As a company owner or brand executive, you’ll want to remember these rough times as those in which your efforts made your brand grow exponentially – due to the innovative decisions you made.
Word of Advice: Don’t Become “One of Them”
As a brand and communicator during a pandemic, the last thing you want to do is address the outbreak in your marketing campaigns in an inconsiderate manner. Don’t ruin your company’s reputation by publishing marketing material that seems to be exploiting this delicate situation.
You don’t want to be associated with this crisis for the wrong reasons.
The best thing you can do is rework your marketing strategies and focus on building long-term brand narratives within the limitations of what is currently happening in the world.
Shift your strategies to follow how media consumption is growing and how much people are spending their time online and on eCommerce. At this moment, brands need to resist focusing on the short-term activations to come out of this current climate triumphant.
Lastly: How Brands are Advertising in the Midst of Coronavirus and How You Can Too
We’ve discussed a lot in this article, but now, it’s time you put your creativity to work to stay innovative, engaging, and positive for your consumers.
1. Be Visually Creative | McDonald’s Brazil:
McDonald’s visuals are simplistic, but very impactful. They make excellent use of their logo and witty personality to educate consumers on the importance of social distancing – an imperative measure that must be taken by everyone to avoid getting infected by the COVID-19.
McDonald’s is creating brand awareness during a rough time – the right way and continues to generate consumer loyalty.
2. Be Insightful, Go Virtual | Behr: Behr Your Background
If we’re talking innovation and real-time strategy, this is a perfect example. Behr is aware that more people will be working from home and connecting using video calls to keep in touch.
With this campaign, Behr helps you “behr your background” so that your home is camera ready. They offer a free library of stylish home backgrounds you can download for your next Zoom video call or meeting. How fun is that?
3. Create Awareness | Mucinex: Spread Facts not Fear
Experts have called the coronavirus (before becoming a pandemic) and “infodemic”. Due to all the misinformation about the virus being spread quicker than the virus itself. With the many opinions and voices, this heightens anxiety and confusion in people.
That’s why Mucinex, a recognized flu brand, wants to “spread facts, not fear”, to encourage safe habits and point people to real, expert information.
Combined with attention-grabbing and crisp design, they created these helpful and engaging ads, which drives to covid-19facts.com, with helpful and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 compiled by the WHO and other experts. Brilliant.
4. Use your Voice | Coca Cola: Stay United
Brands have immense power when it comes to communication. Using that to the advantage of the greater good is amazing. Not only are you using your voice for something positive, you are also creating awareness.
You are letting your consumers know that you care about them and the world. With strong visuals and a powerful message, brands have the power to shift the world.
5. Use your Product to Stay Visual | Mercedes-Benz – Flatten the Curve
Mercedes-Benz urges people to stay home in order to stay safe and #flattenthecurve. In this message, they stick to using their product and stay visually appealing to consumers. You can do the same, be creative! How can your product become a visual reference to communicate value and information at the same time?
Not only are they urging people to stay inside, they are also thanking those in the front lines trying to control the disease. They continue to provide information across their social media platforms on activities for quarantine like coloring books for kids and more.
Let’s Make the Best of It
This is a very hurtful situation for many. However, now is the best time to communicate with impact and innovation. It’s important to stick together and create community-centric messages for consumers and brands alike.
Stay safe! If you have any questions about strategies or how you can advertise for conversions, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.