The coronavirus disease or also known “COVID-19”, is no doubt disrupting the usual routine of everyday lives, not just here in New Zealand but of all humans on this planet. With the increasing number of cases, community quarantine has forced people to stay in their homes.
There are examples of where animals are wandering the streets, waters returning clear and pollution levels dropping. All unexpected benefits of the lockdown humans have had to take, however the human cost to COVID-19 is significant, and the extent of the impact not truly known.
In spite of all this, digital marketing has been bridging the gap for most business closures. Those affected are still able to get the services and products they need from the comfort of their homes.
New Zealand has implemented rules that all but essential items can be accessed. However the definition of this has, over Level 4 alert, been clarified with retailers being able to sell fridges, freezers and heaters. At the end of this lockdown, we will all hopefully be going into Level 2 or 3 which will enable all businesses to take advantage of the change in habits COVID-19 will have exacerbated.
Everyone has been facing difficulties especially in the sudden change of routine, unfamiliar work environments, strict social distancing and new working ‘colleagues’. However, despite this catastrophe unfolding, many of us can still be productive as we continue to communicate and collaborate with our colleagues with the help of the internet.
COVID-19 has greatly influenced consumer behavior in terms of purchasing and essential services. To cope with this drastic change, business owners must find appropriate ways to meet the demand of the customers.
Of course, lots of questions here. How should one keep their business running without appearing insensitive and tone-deaf to the crisis at the forefront? No, this is obviously not the time to go banner crazy offering COVID bargains and Corona slash prices. One should take an empathetic approach, be mindful, and remember no one likes a hard sell. Now as a country is time for unity, but if your business meets an unmet need, you need to let people know.
Your customers still want to know you exist even during this COVID-19 pandemic— so do you continue the usual ways of marketing? Should you announce the launch of a new product? How much interaction do you need to communicate to your audience amidst this situation?
It’s a lot to take on, but remember, most, if not all businesses are in the same boat right now. Our tip is proceed with caution, lead with honesty and empathy and you won’t go far wrong.
The best way to stay in customers’ mindsets during the current situation ready for the pandemic lockdown to pass is to keep your customers informed. Furthermore you need to keep yourself informed as the crisis progresses. How can you be providing guidance to your customers if you yourself are not fully informed?
Take the first step.
Let them know about your current situation and service limitations before they even reach out to you. You might want to post social media reminders, infographic banners on your website, or send out a few emails blast. Let your customers be notified about your current transaction processes and assure them as to what is and is not possible during this time.
Invest in content that matters.
As most people stay indoors, figures already released show New Zealanders are using most of their time surfing the internet to comfort themselves or working remotely. During this time, the demand for content to consume is unstoppable. This opens up digital opportunities for businesses to create meaningful and enjoyable content to occupy their audience. Some companies ramp up their engagement by offering VR experiences while the low-cost savvy ones create call-to-action posts to engage users. One example would be asking users to post pics or videos on an FB post, asking about their lives during quarantine, or by doing some fun and charitable social media challenge.
For businesses directly affected by the current pandemic such as travel, events and in-store retail, do what you can to keep your content coming. Take a low-key approach, as consumers are aware that your business operations have been halted, still take the opportunity to be visible and creative.
You still need to keep your content centered on the product and service that you provide; focus on how this is beneficial from a future-planning standpoint. Give your customers ideas on what to plan out six months from now, engage them to make future purchases or live out their dreams. Make them look forward to what they do not have right now. This is not just productive, but offers a positive respite during a long quarantine.
We can only hope there is an end in sight. That the world will resume where it left off, changed and scarred by a pandemic, but optimistic enough to carry on.
Taking this opportunity to be visible to your audience is an important Bottom-line, we still need to move forward to achieving your goals this 2020.
You need to keep a close eye on your metrics, find out where your target customers are spending time online. Monitor their activities on the web and derive your strategies based on this data. Be ready to customise your campaigns daily.
Don’t be afraid to introduce new things on your website and social pages. Adam Worley, CEO of 1768Degrees.com, a leading New Zealand web agency based in the heart of Whangarei has some very important insights on continuing your SEO and content marketing efforts:
“These uncertain times are a first for many. Creating and providing certainty with your brand and communications will help create a semblance of normality. Furthermore we must remember that this too shall pass. Once we come out the other end of COVID-19, we need to be ensuring our businesses are at the forefront of customers’ minds, and ideally top of Google. If you don’t have an SEO strategy in effect, now is the time to consider how and for which keywords you want to be at the top of search results for. There will be a lot of competition for Google and Bing Ads and so small businesses particularly, need to be smarter to capture the upturn and demand that will be forthcoming.
The online trend will have been sped up during this process and so an online presence for all businesses will now be more important than ever. Your online presence must reflect your offline service, as your website will be the metric that your offline experience is judged by.”
Consumers will certainly shift their behaviors in the coming months. Businesses relying on prints and event marketing for advertising must be ready to shift their focus to online advertising. Your online budget and digital ad spend should be wisely allocated in line with the changing situation.
Remember that your business doesn’t need to suffer needlessly during a long drawn-out quarantine. You can try to reach out to SEO marketing agencies to get your digital campaigns underway. You do not need to hibernate at this point, you can keep working on your digital strategy and reap the rewards later on.
Digital marketing allows you to develop strategies regardless of your workplace—either at home or in the office. You can devote your time to think of innovative strategies and approaches to level up your business.
Hopefully, by the end of this, the world will be healthy again and we all get to hang signs that say ‘Business as usual’.
Stay Safe. Pass Kindness forward.
1768degrees.com has put out an open letter to businesses offering support to all New Zealand companies to get them ready post COVID-19.