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Why GoDaddy rapidly reworked its own marketing to help small businesses stay afloat

The Drum 18 Jun 2020 10:21
GoDaddy's 'Open We Stand' movement has been helping small businesses like Cobe Surf Shop in Portland continue to serve customers

GoDaddy has seen phenomenal demand for its domain registration and web hosting services in recent months as small firms seek out ways to move their shops and services online. Fresh from launching a campaign to help keep these businesses afloat, the tech giant’s chief marketing officer Fara Howard discusses how this is a strategy that will outlive lockdown.

In May, domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy revealed that it now has 19.3 million customers around the globe, up 4.1% year-on-year. Over the past 12 months, the company has seen a revenue bump of 11.5% to reach $792m, thanks to selling domain names, hosting sites and offering booking and payment tools through various partners to small and medium-sized businesses.

Where Covid-19 has created a significant upheaval in the global economy and job markets, it has also led to an uptick in interest from many to start new ventures. In GoDaddy’s most recent earnings call, its chief financial officer Ray Winbourne said investors should expect the business to “lean in on marketing spend” and “attractive customer offers” in response to this in the coming months.

“Our core mission as a company and a brand is to enable everyday entrepreneurs – individuals who are so often running a one-person or two-person shop and standing on their own two feet,” explains GoDaddy chief marketing officer Fara Howard.

“In a global pandemic, what these firms might need instead is advice on where to get economic support, resources where they can learn from other small businesses that are thriving in this time.

Building ‘Open We Stand’

Anchored by an initial national ad campaign which directed companies to resources on the official site, the movement has gained backing from 50 other brands such as Salesforce, Uber, Adobe, Slack and more. All of these partners have made a corporate pledge to help small companies connect with their customers in some way throughout the pandemic.

“When we put this campaign into market, we found that customers were calling up and talking to our guides about how to get help. It was incredibly clear that there was an increased demand for our products and services.”

Though stores, cafes and offices around the globe are tentatively reopening as governments loosen lockdown to varying degrees, the e-commerce’s boom is set to rumble on. Kantar predicts that e-commerce will further outperform retail in the year ahead, with 32% of households saying they’ve increased or significantly increased their e-commerce spend in the pandemic period and 33% believe their future online purchases will increase.

On the tech side, the brand has been allowing small firms to easier integrate their website with platforms like Amazon and Etsy so they can be across a "myriad" of marketplaces.

"We partnered with GoFundMe to allow firms to solicit support from people who love their business during this hard time.

Her advice to other marketers looking to realign their messaging amid the pandemic?

"We built something from our homes, we weren't out there with cameras. Never underestimate the power of your team when they're rallied around a super important mission - because if that's the case they will scale mountains for your customer."

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