Pandemic Marketing Staples for Brands and Small Businesses

Photo above by Rusty Watson.

Consumer behavior has always been at the center of any digital marketing strategy. Or any marketing strategy, for that matter. And since the pandemic drastically changed consumer behavior, marketers have needed to adapt quickly.

Where they were once able to boost sales using physical stores, marketers now heavily rely on search engines and social media platforms to sell and promote their products.

What’s more, competition is fiercer than ever. DIY grooming, for instance, saw a massive increase in search as lockdown protocols were enforced by governments. That means every brand needs to be creative and convincing enough to grab people’s attention. And that’s just one part of the purchase funnel.  

So, how are companies structuring their coronavirus digital marketing approach? Is there a one-size-fits-all method that they’re using? Or is every industry different? Let’s take a look at a few of these pandemic marketing strategies and how you can apply it to your own business.

Increase Brand Awareness

Consumer behavior has shifted from completing purchases from physical stores to having the product delivered at the customer’s doorstep. As such, you need to put your product in front of your consumer to increase brand awareness.

And since they’re already spending a lot of time on Google and social media platforms, that’s where you need to focus your attention. People are reporting an increase in internet usage during these lockdowns, either for entertainment or information, according to Statista.   

Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram – these are just some of the platforms that are seeing a tremendous amount of traffic. So it’s best to structure your strategy around these apps to cover a lot of ground. 

Stay Relevant and Empathetic

Obviously, your PPC ads should be created with empathy and relevancy in mind, given the ongoing health crisis. Try to find ways your product can provide convenience during these uncertain times.

But always evaluate the message. Nobody wants a tone-deaf company. You’ll just come across as the typical corporate leech that’s out to profit from the pandemic.

For instance, if you’re in the food delivery industry, do not just highlight the safety of your consumers. Try to emphasize the safety of your workers as well. Simple messages like “Please wear a mask when receiving your order to protect our delivery workers” will go a long way for your coronavirus digital marketing campaign. 

Manual and Automated Strategies

Considering all the uncertainty, it’s more crucial than ever to merge a manual approach and automated adjustment in your PPC strategies. Sure, automation can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a small team.

But automatically setting your campaign and failing to monitor results will only lead to unproductive spending. What you need to do is adjust your bidding based on the data you’re receiving.

This could vary depending on time and location. Let’s say you’re automatically bidding at 10 am Pacific Time as it’s the most beneficial time for your campaign. While this could work for a time, keep in mind that trends change. Constantly.

A lot of factors can affect the optimal timing including your competition’s own PPC strategy. And that’s just for a time-based approach alone. Regions, keywords, consumer behaviors — all of these will disrupt your campaign. Again, monitor your data and adjust accordingly based on the information you’re receiving. 

Increase Audience Engagement

Covid-19 disrupted thousands of brands and businesses. But there are certain industries out there that took the brunt of the damage. If you’re in this category, it may be a good idea to stop your PPC campaigns. After all, people are saving their money for more essential services and purchases.

However, it’s still advisable that you continue your PPC approach to increase audience engagement. Specifically, you can combine PPC and content marketing to increase brand visibility. What’s more, it’ll also increase your brand’s authority, especially if you structure it around relevant information in today’s climate.

One such example is Heineken’s Ode to Close commercial. Despite the beer company reporting it suffered “significant impact” when the pandemic hit, it’s making sure it’s remaining relevant. Not only that, it’s using its brand to spread social distancing messages while subtly using product placement strategy.

Guinness’s St. Patrick’s Day Message is another example. Yes, it highlights revelry. But it also puts forward the idea of caring for each other.

“On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish. But let’s not forget that every day we’re all humans.” What a powerful statement, especially since they’re emphasizing the sacrifices of the men and women manning the frontlines.   

Amid the Uncertainty

At the end of the day, you’ll need to maintain your product’s relevance so you won’t get eclipsed by the competition. Data and creative thinking will need to be at the heart of your coronavirus digital marketing strategy.

It’s going to be challenging, yes. But amidst the uncertainty, even established brands are finding difficulty securing a foothold. That’s a great opportunity for the small players as it essentially places everyone on the same level. Whoever has the most effective campaigns can come out on top. And that could be you.

Stefanie Siclot is part of the SEO team at Growth Rocket.

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