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A bold new marketing strategy for a brave new world

The Drum 19 May 2020 07:30
By Rumble Romagnoli-19 May 2020 08:30am

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Across Europe, countries are seeing lockdown restrictions lifted and some semblance of ‘normal life’ is starting to resume. What a relief! For many business owners, this means kickstarting your operations and prospecting once more, leaving one vital question to be answered: are you ready and what is your plan?

Currently, gone is any focus on profiteering – instead, companies are connecting with their clients on a more personal level and are genuinely helping those in need. This is something that brands must be careful not to simply snap out of as lockdown is eased – a return to normal too quickly will look at best confusing and at worst completely disingenuous.

Have you been hiding? The first thing you must address is your current brand presence. Have you been communicating frequently with your clients, your prospects and your community? Or have you been hiding, not knowing how to react, thus allowing your brand presence to fade as the world copes with this crisis? If you were scared, now is the time to be brave. Ease back into your comms and write your first post now.

Beware, this situation changes so fast that without staying informed you can easily end up communicating something that is no longer true. It should go without saying that you don’t want to propagate fake news, so keeping on top of the Covid-19 situation and its effects on your industry should be your number one priority. Breed confidence, but stay truthful and aware.

Lastly, although lockdown restrictions are starting to ease this is only the beginning, with many set to work from home for months to come and many social establishments such as bars and restaurants reportedly staying closed for the meantime. This means that digital will remain the best way to capture attention and grow your client base – here’s how to do it.

At our digital marketing agency Relevance, we have seen average cost per click (what you pay to get somebody onto your website) depreciating rapidly since January 2020, falling by around 50% each month from January through to April. After watching Google & co’s CPC pricing escalating over the past 20 years it is welcome news for advertisers to see advertising is actually getting cheaper. Did I just say that? It is not only for search, but it is also for paid social, programmatic and direct buys from publications. We are in a buyer’s market at last.

Companies would be smart to target local during this time, with travel restrictions in many regions meaning that your clients will likely remain within their own country. Granular, location-based targeting in postcode areas is often recommended for brands, but a key change could be that settings on Facebook and LinkedIn are changed from ‘travelling through’ to ‘residing in’, reflecting the fact that many individuals may remain in their own homes for the foreseeable future. However, as restrictions become more relaxed you might bet on the great escape to the countryside, the beach or the mountains.

Many of us are feeling distanced from the world around us, so use your ads as a way to start a conversation with your audience. Instead of simply drawing people to your website, why not invite people to message or video call one of your team? If your company is experiencing unprecedented levels of communication and you don’t have the staff to deal with it, set up a chatbot to answer all FAQS before directing the client to book a call slot if their question cannot be answered online.

PR and content

In terms of communicating with your clients, as mentioned earlier, now is the time to make yourself heard. Send out mailers, write thought leadership articles on LinkedIn, create podcasts – whatever you do, make sure that your content is high quality, as plenty of other brands will have had the same idea. I would even say be a little edgy so you stand out. Your content should be adding value, not providing white noise.

Social media

Following widespread influencer success, brands like Burberry and Gucci have embraced this new platform and have been rewarded with high engagement. Despite lockdowns easing around the world, TikTok’s popularity looks to be going nowhere, making it a strong consideration for your digital marketing after Covid-19 strategy, but be aware that your content needs to be young and fresh. The best way to learn what works is to dive in and start testing.

So, depending on where your audiences are, you may either want to boost or limit your efforts for these two channels.

As mentioned earlier, online video consumption is on the rise and this is no doubt leading to an increased number of YouTube users, however, the platform has warned its creators that video removals may increase during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is due to fewer staff being on hand to review videos. However, this shouldn’t put brands off from pushing their video content as soon as possible. We know YouTube is fighting hard with IGTV so you will now see videos in premium Google spots, so pushing hard on YouTube will also help your SEO strategy.

You shouldn’t need to make significant changes when marketing after Covid-19 in terms of SEO. The big initiatives are in my SEO & Digital Marketing Strategy tips for 2020. This advises on concentrating on video SEO, Google real estate, featured snippets, image SEO, optimised website structure, mobile-first, no-follow backlinks, long-tail keywords, blogging and branded SEO.

There are countless reports showing smartphone use is on the rise, meaning there is no excuse to leave your website unoptimised for mobile. Making your website mobile-friendly will benefit your business even if you are not currently seeing more mobile visitors, ensuring it shows up higher in search results, so there’s no time like the present. Can you really afford to be turning off your clients in this economic climate? Please also understand internal search clients using the internal website search often convert at a much higher rate than other website visitors so make sure they are finding what they are looking for.

Are you ready?

Be bold in your marketing strategy. Remember that this is a brave new world we face, but that we face it together. Your clients will appreciate you being by their side through this confusing time, especially if you are providing them with wisdom that they cannot get elsewhere. Don’t give up, even if surviving means adapting your entire marketing strategy. With the right tools and ideas, you can emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger than ever before.

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