Online Marketing In The Time of COVID-19
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”; unfortunately, the present times are worst in the living memory of most of us with nothing best to remember about it except how we act now. The invasion of COVID-19 has been so pervasive that every single individual in the world is affected by it. Entire countries have been locked down, businesses have pulled down their shutters, and people have pulled their curtains for an indefinite period. This uncertainty is the ‘U’ in this VUCA world. This acronym is a self-fulfilling prophecy of our times. Currently, the world is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and, Ambiguous, more than ever. At this time, businesses in most of the industries have gone into limbo, freezing all activities except keeping their lights on. Although it is not the time for them to gloat, the champions of Digitalisation of business activities stand vindicated. Businesses having digital operations, digital stores, functional websites, and who do digital marketing are holding their own during this economic downturn. In this article, we discuss the opportunities for businesses to market online and build resilience towards unforeseen disruptions in the future.
Should businesses still be marketing?
There are no easy answers to this question. But every business that is looking to survive this COVID-19 storm and come out of it stronger must brace up. This is not the time for knee-jerk, summary reactions. It is logically tempting for companies to defer their marketing activities to shore up operational resources. It is a flawed premise to cut costs. If there was ever a need to intensify and innovate marketing, it is now.
Deciding on what to do and what not to do
Businesses must audit their marketing activities and look to add channels that can give them the best ROI without costing a fortune. With Events, exhibitions, conferences, and other outdoor marketing activities canceled, it is time to go virtual and online. Not every organization is as digitally optimized to weather the current lull in their marketing as their more sophisticated peers. Here comes the need to audit all your marketing activities and gradually channel budgets and resources towards suitable channels for digital marketing.
How to Choose the Marketing Platforms?
The type of business, the business goals, the products and services your business sells will guide the decision to choose suitable digital marketing platforms for your business. You must reframe your strategy to accommodate the times and highlight the human element in your business. Rather than selling, it is time to stay connected with your customers and stay on top of their minds once things get to normal. Remember, marketing isn’t a tactic, it is a strategy. Optimize your website, create your social accounts, get across to your customers, be consistent in your outreach.
Marketing, Messaging, Platforms
If you want to inform your customers about your brand value, social media marketing should be your platform of choice. Depending on your product, your target audience you can choose from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok, or Twitter. It is the message and your content that will drive the conversation and engagement on these platforms. Be consistent and persistent and keep a track of all your activities and tie them in with KPIs to analyze and track your campaigns across platforms.
Similarly, if you want to grow organically and offer services that could help people, SEO is your best bet to reach people looking for your services. PPC ad spend has shown a decline in demand, so now is your time to explore opportunities to bid for keywords that were too expensive a few months ago. Your decisions must be informed by your goals, your target customer, and the products or services you are selling.
Advantages of Digital Marketing
You are not space-bound, time-bound, budget-bound, or audience-bound with Digital Marketing. The performance can be measured instantly, and you can change your messaging, your budget, or your target audience, on the go. The real-time data and the digital nature of your marketing gives you both agility with your plan and flexibility with your budget and messaging. Digital marketing is a complement of traditional marketing, and in times like these, it is the inexpensive, budget-friendly long-term alternative to traditional marketing. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get across your message to your audience of choice with instant feedback and an option to customize your marketing in real-time. Digital Marketing in one form or another is the need of your business to sustain and, dare I say, scale in these tough times. You need an expert hand to guide you through these times towards your desired state of bliss.
Doing it in-house or hiring a Digital Agency
When you have not done it before and you are faced with this unprecedented situation, it is advisable to let the expertise of a Digital Marketing agency take over your troubles. It is not just expertise but the established process, procedure, and infrastructure that an agency brings which will give you the desired returns on your budget and business goals. You don’t have to hire someone, train him/her, create a process flow, provide the infrastructure, spend on buying proprietary software hope that it delivers your desired result. It is a hassle in normal times, and in times like this when you and your business are already stressed, these overheads costs are not the need of the hour. A Digital Marketing Company that has proven experience in your market and a dedicated team of professionals to strategize and implement a marketing plan aligned with your business goals will be the best fit to take care of all your marketing needs.
COVID-19 has been an unprecedented catastrophe, and it has asked some existential questions to businesses. It is your answer to those questions with innovation and technology at hand that will define the present and future course of your business. Online Marketing in these difficult times is what sets apart successful businesses from the ones that fail or stop growing. Every crisis comes with an opportunity. COVID-19 is your opportunity to take your marketing online and reap the rewards of success for years to come. Your time to act is now and now is the time for your business to scale the ladders of success. Act wise, act fast.