There Is No “Pandemic Marketing Plan”
If you’re like us at Oneupweb, you’ve seen a disproportionate number of posts about “how to work from home” and “video conference etiquette.” But once you’ve settled in and you know your new #WFH routine, what marketing should you spend your time on?
There is no one-size-fits-all “pandemic marketing plan.” Rather, there are many ways your existing marketing plan can be adjusted to meet your organization’s needs now and in the future.
From SEO to PPC, read on to learn the types of projects our digital marketing teams recommend now so your organization can meet short-term goals.
Stay the Course with SEO and Content Marketing
SEO and content marketing tactics are part of the long game – they show their worth over the course of time. Because of this, content marketing and SEO are not prime for big, reactionary pivots.
Instead, we strongly recommend staying the course with content marketing – keep working on the initiatives you have been planning, as they will likely outlive the current downturn.
In addition to content production, now is a good time to:
- Audit existing content. Does your published content, including service and product pages, still serve your organization’s needs in these changed times?
- Start a blog. Your website can and should be more than a sales piece. Use keyword research to determine what types of content, including lifestyle content, would engage people right now and in a post-coronavirus world.
- Mix it up. Think about cross-departmental and cross-channel initiatives. Because SEO is a long-term strategy, PPC campaigns and cross-channel campaigns (e.g., paid, social, email) can help meet your customers’ immediate needs.
Remember that the content you post now will not significantly impact your organic traffic for several weeks or months. So, for example, if you are working on a significant content expansion that will be relevant in future months, keep going. Additionally, team up with your social media or paid team to disseminate new, downturn-related content immediately.
Be Flexible with Paid Campaigns
When funding is in question, PPC or paid media projects are often the first to get the axe. But that isn’t always wise. Paid campaigns are incredible tools for prospecting or expanding your audience – plus, they are one of the fastest ways an organization can communicate up-to-date information.
The keys to managing successful PPC campaigns during a downturn are flexibility and experimentation. Get the most out of your current PPC budget by:
- Reviewing performance frequently. Adjust campaigns accordingly – consider potential new audience segments, new locations, and even new uses for your products or services.
- Make sure your store and location information is up to date. Accurate information is vital to your success.
- Update messaging to let customers know what you’re doing to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect employees and customers.
- If search demand has decreased for your industry, consider shifting your ads from conversion-focused to awareness-focused. This will allow you to continue to create brand awareness without wasting budget or appearing predatory.
It’s possible that shifting your paid campaigns’ messages and targeting may help you uncover a new market segment that is less impacted or that still requires your services. Prioritizing informational content will position your company as trustworthy and relatable during a crisis.
Remember – this approach to PPC advertising and prospecting is not only about now but also about positioning your organization for a strong recovery.
Amid a Pandemic, Marketing Improves with CRO, UX and Research
It’s always a good time to conduct usability testing, UX (user experience) reviews, accessibility reviews, CRO (conversion rate optimization) reviews and CRO experiments. (Yes, even during a pandemic!) These projects allow you to better serve your customers’ needs, leading to better conversion rates.
According to our research team, projects to prioritize during this time include:
- Persona research. Persona work requires marketers to extricate their personal biases from the project and to focus on the user. This requires a lot of concentration, which makes it the perfect project to work on remotely.
- Competitor research. Competitor research allows organizations to glean insights about missed opportunities and competitive advantages. While your organization may not be ready to pull the trigger on a major project right now, investing in minor research now may help you gear up for a larger future investment.
- End-to-end customer experience. Should your new ad, landing page or social media post messaging be adjusted to express empathy with your clients? This is especially important during a downturn.
Prioritize Visual Tone
Your design choices matter now, more than ever. Your influence as a brand is magnified during a pandemic – people have more time to digest content, process messaging, react and comment on the choices you make as a brand.
Striking the right visual tone is essential for connecting with your audience during a crisis. For example, while aspirational imagery may work during normal times, it might not sit well with your audience right now. Our designers are working with many of our clients to strike a tone that is serious and supportive. A visual tone that meets people where they are emotionally, wherever that may be, is a tone that will carry your brand far in our current climate.
Plan (A Lot) for Future Video and Photo Work
It’s a fact: Photo and video shoots are considerably more difficult to conduct during a pandemic. Our video team has had to make major workflow adjustments to comply with social distancing recommendations.
If your team is unable to keep producing photo and video assets right now, hope is not lost! Right now is a fantastic time to plan for future shoots. Our team recommends auditing your content for potential improvements and additions. Do all your visual assets represent your current branding? Where could you use more video, photography or graphics?
Spend some time thinking about whether you have visual content that represents all your products and services. Consider whether your visual assets are custom to each of your core audiences. Planning now will allow your team to hit the ground running once it is safe to resume normal shoots.
Marketing During a Downturn: Keep Moving
There’s no playbook for marketing, or really anything else, during a pandemic and what comes afterward. But just because the path isn’t clear, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking! Don’t throw away your long-term marketing plan – it can still be your guide. Just realize that some of your short-term plans will need to be flexible.
As marketers, it’s important to keep moving forward. So next time you’re staring at the screen in your makeshift office – between video conference calls and homeschool lessons – remember there are projects worth doing now to connect with your audience and watch it pay off in the months to come.