Digital Marketing Strategy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
How should marketing and advertising look like during a pandemic?
1) Understanding the times we are in
UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET
- Getting a readily available vaccine could take up to 18 months according to Bill Gates who was the first person to predict in 2015 that there will be a pandemic caused by a virus and the world is not ready to deal with it.
- In recent marketing research conducted by ESKIMI, 81% of marketing professionals confirmed that COVID 19 had affected their marketing strategies. 33% of those interviewed said they had paused all campaigns and will resume when it’s over. 7% switched all communication from offline to digital/online. 43% had carried on but changed their messaging.
- Be cognizant of the fact that your customers are going through a difficult period with limited budgets and cash flows. What can you do to meet the needs of your customers at such as time as this?
- Your goal should be to demonstrate that you care for your customers. Show empathy and commitment to solve their problems.
- You may have to adjust your message to fit in the moment
The case of Textbook Centre partnering with Standard Chartered to sell a Lenovo laptop for kids at Ksh 29,500
WHEN IT COMES TO CONTENT DECISIONS,
What messages should you be sending to your customers in a time like this?
Here are some of the themes that you can focus on
- Here for you
- Together we can
- Ready to help
- We are ready to tailor our solution to your needs
- We know what you’re going through, how can we help?
- We are in this together
Digitize your sales and distribution. As more people are working from home and are constantly accessing the Internet on mobile phones, this is the ideal time to provide digital services through mobile apps and the website.
If you are selling products online, having a fully functional e-commerce website where your customers can be able to place their orders easily is a big deal. If you don’t have the budget to build an e-commerce site from scratch you can use already existing platforms like Jumia. You should work to ensure you get your products listed on Jumia and similar e-commerce platforms.
The Case Study of Twiga Foods:
We’ve seen Twiga Foods selling fruits and groceries on Jumia the beauty of Jumia is they have established an efficient logistics process that ensures customers get their products at the comfort of their homes.
Your customers are WhatsApp away
As more Kenyans are spending more of their time on smartphones, WhatsApp would be a useful place to showcase your products through the WhatsApp status or WhatsApp for Business. Everyone who has your number will see your contact. Design those banners and share them as far as you can.
While companies are down-sizing right left and centre, this could be the best time to keep your most productive employees. It may be a bad decision to hire new employees at the moment unless you are sure that the new hires will have a direct impact on the growth of the business. As a business owner, setting specific deliverables for each employee can help in measuring their output. Measuring employee performance will help you determine who to let go and who to keep. Be frugal.
SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR MARKETERS DURING COVID
These tools can help you manage your customers better
- Microsoft Dynamics
Tools to help you increase conversions on your website
- Google Analytics
- Google Page Insights
Tools to help you increase the ranking of your website on search engines
- Google My Business
- Google Keyword Planner
- Yoast SEO
- Similar Web
- Google pagespeed insights
Marketing – SEO
- SEM Rush
Tools to help you manage social media
- Sprout Social
Tracking Online Trends
- Google Trends
Tools to help you create beautiful graphics for social media and the web
Tools help you create and send beautiful professional-looking emails
- Constant Contact
Tools to help you know what people are talking about online
- Google Alerts
- Buzz Sumo
Tools to help you simplify the process of managing tasks & resources within a team
- Zoho Projects
- Google Drive
Tools for Collaboration and Project Management
- Office 365
- Google Docs
Tools to help you manage your accounts
- Popote pay
- Wave App
Tools to help you optimize your website
- Yoast SEO – Best for Search Engine Optimization
- Disqus (Allows people to comment on your articles with no spam)
- iThemes Security (protects against hacking of WordPress sites)
- Pingdom – Website speed and uptime
Tools for Video conferencing
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Meet
Tools for Keyword research:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Google Autocomplete
Tools for creating/sharing Short Video clips
- Instagram Stories
- Facebook Stories
Tools for sharing long-form videos
- IG TV
STRATEGIES / TACTICS
- Research topics, phrases, long-tail keywords that people are searching for When it comes to keywords, incorporating long-tail keywords can improve the authority of your site and help you target new audiences. Long-tail keywords are highly specific search terms. Some of these will appear as related search terms within your SEO research tool, and others can be found by browsing the related searches at the bottom of any Google results page or exploring Google’s autocomplete results.
- Identify the goal you want to achieve
- Create content around those topics
- Update your website, Google My Business, FAQs to reflect the new reality: Your new working hours. Your new product/service
- Leverage the channels widely used by your audience
- Set the right call-to-action
How to set Targeting options on Facebook
- Use Facebook Custom audiences to segment your audiences. E.g. Target people who have interacted with your posts, videos on Facebook or Instagram.
- Use Custom audiences to upload your marketing leads (emails, mobile numbers)
- Target people who have visited your website in the last 180 days
- Target people who have downloaded your Mobile Ap
The case of Safaricom: Enabled customers to make purchases using bong points?
- More than 10,500 customers have used the facility daily since its launch, translating to a daily redemption of 26 million Bonga Points worth Sh7.8 million.
With reduced profits and cash flows in most businesses due to COVID 19, how should you allocate marketing budgets? The point here is that there are important budget and content decisions that you have to make for your business to be sustainable during the pandemic. The best strategy should be to use your meagre resources as efficiently as possible. Cut costs and defer huge expenses in the short-term. Buying expensive equipment at this time is not a wise move. Use your budget on or Google search Ads or channels such as Facebook and Instagram that are less expensive per CPM compared to Display Ads or LinkedIn Ads which tend to incur huge costs. Create those types of content that are least expensive such as social media banners compared to high-quality videos which can deplete your budget. If you have to do videos, you can use a smartphone to save money. This will help you last the unfavourable business environment until things change.
COVID19 will stay with us for a long time. Entrepreneurs will have to quickly adapt to the new reality by adjusting the message and creating solutions that address the needs of the moment. This is a pivoting moment for many businesses. Those who will not be quick to change will be left behind.