A Need for Businesses to Change Digital Marketing Strategies
In these unfortunate times when the COVID-19 pandemic has set on the world, we cannot deny the significant impact that marketing among small and big businesses alike are affected. A study from the World Federation of Advertisers revealed that 4 out of 5 marketers from big multinational corporations were found to have deferred the launch of the planned advertising campaigns because of COVID-19. Since the virus has hit, many companies have pivoted from their planned strategies into developing new ones and we want to help you identify new opportunities when it comes to your digital marketing activities.
Globally, COVID-19 has forced the world to rethink their daily lives and turn to digital tools to continue our way of life. Places of work and schools have been transformed to adopt digitalisation and use technology to help businesses keep growing. One notable example is US-based video conferencing provider Zoom seeing its stock price increase in this crisis. In Singapore, the Minister for Communications and Information, S.Iswaran has indicated that businesses are seeing more value in increasing digitalization in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local businesses have activated their business continuity plans and even the government is adopting digital technology like the Gov.sg Whatsapp service that pushes messages to more than 1 million users a day.
Do we stop Digital Marketing Efforts During COVID -19?
The first impulse for business owners would be to drastically reduce all costs which also includes the marketing budget in preparation for worst times. Here a few reasons why you should not do so:
- Firstly, cutting marketing budgets would lead to reduced brand awareness and not being the top of mind brand in your customer’s eyes. Once the crisis has passed, you would only have short-term gains of saving the initial marketing costs at the expense of future sales.
- Secondly, this pandemic can be seen as an opportunity for marketing by building trust and reliability in the eyes of your customers. Throughout this period when you are showing concern through your marketing activities, customers would be more aware of your business’ true value
- Thirdly, all businesses will consider cutting marketing costs. By strategically putting your ad expenditure into the right baskets, you can reap more benefits with a less competitive space.
All in all, is this the right move to completely stop your marketing efforts? We don’t think so!
Mark Schafer effectively summarised in this article how we can still continue to sell in a coronavirus environment. He mentioned that selling is not about selling at all, but rather being a human to show compassion and build relationships that will last beyond the end of the virus.
In my mind, that’s what selling is about right now. Which is not selling at all. It’s about helping, showing sincere compassion, and building relationships that will last far beyond any stupid virus.
– Mark Schaefer
In Singapore, we can see examples of companies stepping up to be more empathetic towards the situation and have made actions that will transcend through time. Starhub has committed SGD$200,000 of their marketing budget to support students with home-based learning and sponsoring mobile broadband connectivity to students from lower-income families.
How do I continue to use Digital Marketing For my Business in COVID-19?
After understanding that there are still ways to connect and build trust in your customers, you might be wondering what marketing tactics you can use to start selling. How can you continue to use digital marketing to support your business?
Here are 11 ways to help you settle into the new normal for your digital marketing activities amidst the frenzy that comes with COVID-19.
1. Using Paid Advertising
With the absence of many businesses advertising via the auction framework, it can be expected that there is lesser competition for inventory which would drive down the cost per click.
Traffic on the web is also expected to increase with laws around the world requesting their citizen to stay home.
If you already have paid ads set up, consider increasing your budget slightly as there is more excess inventory available). You can also expect to have an increase in Click-Through Rates (CTR) as other businesses might stop advertising. This can also increase your Quality Score in the long-term.
Here are some tips to maintain your PPC efficiency:
- Cut back on non-essential keywords that relate to awareness and consideration phase with lower conversion rates.
- Save budget for keywords that have a higher likelihood of generating conversions.
- Remember not to pause and start your campaign again because it will lead to higher CPCs as campaigns will revert back to the initial learning phase.
2. Using Videos
Videos allow you to be closer to your customers in this period of social distancing.
The possibilities are endless. You can produce a video for the masses by sharing it on websites and social media.
Alternatively, you can also create videos to facilitate personal exchanges with your customers.
Here are some examples:
- Sending a personal video that introduces you and your company to a potential prospect
- Giving leads a quick product demonstration
- Sending new customers a personalised welcome and thank you message
- Join/Create social media challenges as the entity of your business
- Onboarding new customers with a personalized video
Other than the traditional social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and more recently, Tiktok, be sure to check out the comparisons of different personal video tools in this post.
3. Hosting/ Participating in Virtual Conferences
Unified under the hashtag #togetherathome, the likes of celebrities like Chris Martin and Charlie Puth are hosting virtual concerts from their home to maintain their presence in delighting their audience. We can pick a leaf out of their book and translate that approach to be tailored for businesses.
An example of companies using virtual conferences is Digital Marketing Summit Asia utilizing the benefits of virtual conferences by connecting digital marketers virtually and giving them learning and insights at the comfort of their home. The Encore version compiles all the useful content from the past versions of events which eventually builds up to this year’s virtual edition of Digital Marketing Summit Asia 2020.
Offline events are cancelled worldwide. However, big tech companies like Adobe and Google refused to admit defeat and have shifted their events on to the virtual world. We have also collaborated with Marcoll to come up with a webinar recently to educate the public on the different grants available for digital marketing now.
This way, you can still remain connected to your customers in the virtual world and giving them easily accessible content or information that they will find useful in this period.
4. Repurposing Presentation Decks
In the line of business, you would have presentation decks that contain information that can be converted into lead magnets.
These presentation deck can be repurposed to showing them online or other ways:
- Publishing information on your industry or company on Slideshare
- Saving useful slides as images and sharing on social channels
- Creating lead generation videos
- Transforming slides content into infographics with Easel.ly
5. Creating Infographics
Infographics are a mix between presenting content meaningfully and design to capture the audience’s attention.
If you have complex data or statistics that you would like to share with your customers, designing an infographic would be very useful for both your customers and yourselves. You can repurpose content into infographics as content with your own style by using your typefaces, fonts, and colours.
- Include these infographics in your email marketing campaigns to subscribers, leads and customers
- Publishing on your website together with embed codes in order to earn backlinks
- Sharing on social media to boost engagements
One company that has been actively doing infographics and sharing them on social media is Wolvus Technology where they package information into bite-sized content from guides on how to use Adobe Illustrator to Google Sheets shortcuts
6. Revamping your Website
Website maintenance should be an ongoing practice for all businesses under normal circumstances. Now, it is more important than ever to conduct checks on your websites to make sure that it is still relevant to the audience.
It goes back to the overall strategy planning by answering the following questions:
- Who does your brand help?
- What problem does your brand solve
- How are you uniquely positioned to solve that problem compared to others?
- What working with you would be like?
In addition, especially in a period where customers are doing a lot of evaluation of companies online due to social distancing, there has to be plenty of evidence on your website that you can be trusted. Remember to include:
- A list of past clients
- Awards that you have received
- Links to Google Reviews
- Any guarantees that you might offer
In this downtime, this is the perfect opportunity to address these questions and pivot your business in the right direction if you find yourself straying the path that you have set. In addition, remember to not sound too sales-focused but rather a solution in these trying times.
7. Being More Active on Social Media
Social Media provides a platform for your brand to stay top of mind in spite of social distancing. By now, you would have understood the importance of repurposing old content and developing new content like posts, infographics or videos.
Other than pushing out new content, there are also other functions of social media that you have to set up processes for:
- Social Listening to find out what are the latest trends – This would drive useful insights in planning your next move on social media.
- Engaging your followers – There is a need to reply to your followers when they comment on your posts to show that you are present.
- Supporting and inspiring your community – Showing posts that are sympathetic towards the efforts of the frontliners and how you are doing your part during the COVID-19 pandemic
8. Starting an Email Marketing Campaign
If costs are a big factor for you, focusing on email marketing campaigns would be useful. The low-cost approach is a great way to strengthen the relationships with your community on your own.
A newsletter campaign, for example, is especially useful to connect with individuals, earn their trust and build affinity with them for future sales. Here is a video by Ann Handley on how you can revive email newsletter as a potentially new campaign.
9. Focusing on the needs of Existing Clients
One misconception on digital marketing is the over emphasis on acquiring customers from leads that we miss out on a very important pool of people, your existing customers.
If you are not convinced, here are some statistics on why you should also focus on retaining your current customers:
- Acquiring a new customer can cost 5 times more than retaining an existing customer.
- Increasing customer retention by 5% will increase your profits by 25% – 95%.
- The success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60% – 70% compared to the success rate of selling to a new customer at 5% – 20%.
Retention strategies should be in place and reviewed and it should serve the goal of deepening relationships with your existing customers. You should consider
- Asking customers for feedback
- Sharing content that might be useful to them
- Setting up a loyalty programme that rewards repeat transactions
10. Focusing on Conversion Pain Points
As expected, conversion rates would be affected as consumers are not inclined to purchase goods due to the ongoing recession. By correctly identifying what the customer is facing that denies them from the conversion, you will be able to provide proper adjustment to your processes that allow you to make the sales.
For example, if you are an online e-commerce store selling items that are pricey, consider adopting a payment plan approach with companies like Affirm where the financial commitment required from the customers is spread out over a period of time.
Even if you are a services company, you can accept money over a period of a year or a monthly instalment plan.
In addition, if you are a subscription-based company, guarantees like no commitment period should be in place to convince the customer by lowering their barriers to entry.
By understanding what your customer is facing and implementing measures to help it, this would be important in increasing your conversion rate with a few tweaks to your processes. In addition, especially in a time where consumers are looking to reduce their cash spend, your business will appear to be more understanding towards its customers.
11. Understanding the Different Government Grants Available
Luckily for Singaporean businesses, there is a silver lining amidst the COVID-19 situation.
The recent Budget 2020 and the recent care packages that the Singapore Government have announced are designed to help companies to stay afloat. It holds new measures and initiatives to help businesses develop new capabilities, deal with short-term challenges and take advantage of future emerging growth opportunities.
For Digital Marketing efforts specifically, there are 6 different types of grants that are available for all types of Singaporean businesses. These grants can aid you and your business to go digital from setting up a digital platform or lead generation across multiple channels of growth.
We have summarised the mechanics of the grants in this post that our founder, Sharon, have shared in her previous Live Webinar.
Emerge More Ready to Do Business
We hope that this post can help you figure out what to do and how to adapt your marketing methods during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need for us to be ready the day consumer confidence starts to increase.
We do not know how long the pandemic will last, but the economic impact is expected to to be long-lasting. Stay safe and take care for the time being.
If you are still unsure and would like to seek professional help, do schedule a chat with us to assess your current strategies and what you can do to help achieve them. As Digital Influence Lab is the only agency that was appointed by the government to help SMEs build their digital marketing capabilities, we are well poised to help you identify the right grants and solve your digital marketing needs, especially in this crucial period. If you require help in digital marketing efforts and want to know more about the grants, do feel free to contact us and we can help you further.