As the coronavirus – or, more accurately, COVID-19 – outbreak continues to dominate news cycles, how we spend our leisure time, and how we work, it has become apparent that the world is facing an economic downturn possibly worse than the 1930s Great Depression.
If you’re a business owner, then the first worry on your list (after the health of you and your loved ones, of course) is going to be the financial effects of the coronavirus, and survival prospects of your business.
While it’s true that over the last two decades the internet has increasingly absorbed everything from how we shop to how we socialise, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this to the point that we can say with complete certainty that at this moment in time, your brand’s only chance of being discovered by new customers is by having some sort of online presence.
So while digital marketing has been an increasingly reliable way to shore up sales and brand awareness, it’s now the only marketing method that reaches people where they are – at home, in front of their computers.
Preparation is everything
Even for brands that cannot trade online – think restaurants, party planners, and dentists – preparing for the eventual re-opening of the economy with a solid digital marketing strategy will put you in good stead to flourish in a post-coronavirus world.
But you don’t have to take our word for it – similar studies by the Harvard Business Review, Bain & Co and McKinsey all found that it wasn’t cutting costs that helped a business become one of the ~10% of businesses that thrive in a recession – and it wasn’t necessarily investing either. Instead, the key to surviving, or even flourishing, in the aftermath of a recession was preparation.
The penalties for unpreparedness (or simply an unwillingness to adapt) is severe. These same studies found that between 15-20% of companies closed for good during or immediately after a recession.
Digital Marketing Strategy 1: Your Social Debut
The majority of your customers are all at home right now – just like you. So it’s unsurprising that social media companies are reporting an increase in traffic and engagement as we all spend more time browsing the internet and scrolling through Instagram on our phones. It’s also unsurprising, then, that our first piece of advice to you is to create a social media presence for your brand.
Go to where your prospective audience already is, and engage with them there. This will have the added benefit of creating and maintaining a relationship with your future customers when everything has reverted to some kind of normality.
Digital Marketing Strategy 2: Be Useful
Once you have a social media presence, your next question will naturally be “what should I post?” Our answer is simple: Be Useful. Now is not the time to push a sale, or to celebrate a company milestone. Instead, share advice and useful content for your users, such as:
- A free webinar
- “How-to” or DIY guides
- Live FAQ sessions
- Share a (tasteful) laugh to lighten the mood
(for example, a cocktail bar could have its bartenders do a step-by-step video guide to creating a popular cocktail)
Digital Marketing Strategy 3: Finesse Your Brand’s Story
We know that for many businesses, expertly crafted web copy is deemed an unnecessary luxury, with businesses owners instead opting for a rushed job as they juggle the dozens of other tasks on their to-do lists.
One of the few benefits of the coronavirus lockdown is that it has given us all the opportunity to slow down and take a higher level view of our businesses. The most important place you can start for your brand is by perfecting the way you speak to your users via your digital storefront (that’s your website).
Poor copywriting is proven to increase bounce rates and lower conversions – even as far back as 2011 the BBC reported that poor spelling was costing businesses millions in lost online revenue.
Now is the time to take a step back and look at the story that your brand is telling the people who land on your website. This is the easiest time to convert website users into customers, and even into long-term ambassadors! It just takes a persuasive and personable conversation to get them there – so work on your website copy, attend a free webinar, or hire a professional marketing agency to do it for you.
Dedicating some time to one or all of these strategies not only gives you the best platform to launch your business bounce-back from after the coronavirus pandemic, it also will help to give you a sense of control over the direction of your business in these uncertain times. So take a stab at devising a digital marketing strategy, and become that 1 in 10 businesses that succeed post-recession!