Marketing Experts Share Their Tips For Your Business Amid COVID-19
With the current global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic having a significant impact on nearly every industry and sector, businesses are rethinking and reworking their marketing strategies amid a time of vast uncertainty. We’ve reached out to top marketing experts and business owners to share their thoughts, advice and outlook during this time.
Syed Balkhi, CEO & Founder at WPBeginner
During these uncertain times, the only thing we need to focus as marketers are things we can control. In our company, we have doubled down on our content creation to help empower more businesses (our customers) to succeed. We are creating timely content that shows others how our software and tools can help them grow their business. We have also doubled down our effort on community by increasing engagement in our Facebook group, email newsletter, and other channels. This has proven to be very effective as it’s helping our customers unite and help each other while also boosting our brand’s reputation for sticking with our community.
From a tactical point of view, we have run several campaigns to boost upgrades and annual contract commitments by offering discounts as well as tying our promotions with good causes where we donate portions of our sales to non-profit organizations that are helping others during this crisis. This has not only improved our cash flow, but we feel we’ve also impacted others’ lives in a significant way through our contributions.
Last but not least, I believe in these times, we must stay disciplined and not make careless decisions. Remember, what you do today will be remembered once this is all over.
Fernando Angulo, Head of Communications at SEMrush
The coronavirus is a total catastrophe for many industries and the final damage has yet to be accounted for. This is the key moment for a brand to show much more solidarity with its users than before. The most reactive have even come to open their products/services for free or have opened themselves to donations, and unprecedented discounts because they perceive the social and economic impact that this situation will cause in the very near and imminent future.
Concerns about the spread and potential impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is forcing all organizations and industries to respond to increased online communications and social media activity.
The basic rules to keep in mind for businesses these days are:
- Not to be passive
- Answer with empathy to any comments and questions related to COVID-19
- Be flexible with collaborators, partners and maintain confidentiality
- Publish educational, informative and inclusive content to show that you are not on the sidelines of this situation
Chad Riddersen, Partner at Deviate Labs
Amid COVID-19 it is prudent to pursue marketing initiatives that preserve cash. For businesses that sell to consumers or small enterprises, affiliate marketing presents a customer acquisition opportunity that consumes no out-of-pocket ad dollars. I’ve used Tapfiliate in the past and it provided everything I needed to power an affiliate marketing program.
When you are building out your affiliate campaign, make sure you invest the time and resources to craft high-quality email content (involve a designer,pay a copywriter, do whatever you need to do to produce the best emails you have ever produced). One mistake I see a lot of companies make is that they skimp out on the affiliate reward. Use your customer acquisition cost as a benchmark, don’t be afraid to pay people a high percentage, or even 100%, of your average customer acquisition cost.
Antony Chesworth, Founder and CEO at EKM
Work to push your online marketing efforts. In the current climate, some businesses may be struggling with the closure of their brick and mortar shops but more important than ever, getting online and selling to your customers is the best solution.
Even if you already have your own online shop, now is a great time to be working on building up your content, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website and your marketing and social media efforts. Businesses around the world have taken everything online and some are thriving and will continue to do so after.
Carsten Schaefer, Founder and CEO at Crowdy
My best tip for marketing during the coronavirus pandemic is to focus on your strengths and don’t experiment too much. For example, we know that email marketing is one of our strongest channels for customer acquisition and we doubled down on it since the pandemic started. We know how to do it well and we know what to do to scale our efforts.
On the other hand, we wanted to try PPC as a way to get new leads, especially given the low cost per click at the moment. However, we have never done it before and experimenting now instead of doing something we know how to do well is a waste of time and money.
So, my tip is to stick to those activities that are known to perform well for you. Save the experiments for after the pandemic dies down.
Mike Korba, COO at User.com
At User.com we’ve implemented both specific tactics, as well as more general approaches, to our marketing during this time.
To start, we’ve offered our application to NGO’s and government institutions — who need a solution to communicate with online audiences via live chat, video, or automation — totally free for 6 months to help support. We’ve also offered companies who have been impacted by COVID-19 to use our software with a special discount. This is a strategy that can be adapted to all businesses, providing a time-limited promotion that will help ease the cost for customers.
Along with the discounts and promotions, we have participated in several discussions, events and blog posts to provide advice and information around the pandemic. Joining in these discussions can also be a good way to promote your services during this time.
More generally, I believe in working remotely and using technology in a more personal way. Using remote technology, like video conferences and live chat, to connect with customers is an opportunity most businesses should take advantage of. Speak with customers, organize some video conferences and make closer relationships. For example, if your customers are hurt by the pandemic, you can reach out and offer a discount. This approach can be very valuable, and you show customers that they are not just a source of revenue but rather a partner.
Jonas Fischer, Content Manager at MailerLite
People are online more than ever before, which means you have an opportunity to attract a larger audience. But at the same time, you have more competition for people’s attention during a sensitive time. The key is to add value without adding to the noise. We recommend keeping these 3 things in mind when adjusting your marketing:
- Walk in your customers’ shoes. Figure out how your customers are feeling and focus your marketing on helping them meet their current needs.
- Be more targeted and relevant. Rethink your target audience by segmenting them into smaller groups and sending more personalized offers to each one.
- Use an appropriate tone. Be empathetic and double-check your messaging to ensure it sounds supportive and positive.
Emma Fanning, Content Marketing Specialist at Sendinblue
Be proactive in your crisis email communications. Proactively reach out to customers with information first so they don’t have to come seeking it from you. This’ll ease the pressure on your customer service email/phone line.
Address your customers’ biggest concerns and questions up front. These could concern reimbursements, cancellation policies, shipping delays or anything else that has a direct impact on them at this time. Compile a list of answers to the most commonly asked questions and include these in your crisis communication emails.
For more crisis email tips, check out Sendinblue’s complete guide here.
Alex Sklar, Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Payability
There has been a lot of talk surrounding government stimulus programs such as the SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program Loan and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. While these programs are sure to help small businesses, there is still a lot of confusion around them, who qualifies and when qualified businesses will receive their checks. In the past, disaster relief after a hurricane or other natural disaster was traditionally reserved to one part of the country. Since COVID-19 is affecting the entire country at the same time, the system is overrun and relief may take much longer than usual. While it’s important to educate yourself on these relief programs and apply, it’s also important to have a backup plan. Take some time to think about what happens if you end up getting your stimulus months after you expected to receive it. Or if you don’t end up getting as much as you expected. I say this not to be negative, but to make sure business owners don’t put all their eggs in one basket.
Look for different ways you can increase liquidity in your business. The more assets you have tied up, the less flexibility you’ll have in a time where things are changing faster than ever. You can do this by negotiating with vendors for extended terms, managing cash flow through accounting software or analytic software or using repricing tools, so you’re making sure that you’re maximizing your margins. You could also use ForEx solutions to receive money faster and in your home currency for those working internationally, while also paying lower fees or cutting unneeded subscriptions or services that aren’t directly impacting your revenue. If you’re selling on marketplaces such as Amazon, one way to increase liquidity is by getting paid daily as opposed to bi-monthly or longer, through solutions like Payability’s Instant Access. For those selling on their own websites a way to increase liquidity could be financing your inventory or marketing spend, rather than tying up your own funds, through solutions like Instant Advance.
Richard Beerens, Creative Director at TILT Amsterdam
Just like most people, we are taking social distancing and quarantine very seriously. As a result, we noticed that more and more people have turned to video in order to reach out to their clients, leads and loved ones. Whilst film shoots are barely an option for the time being, we are seeing an increased demand for animation.
We believe that makes total sense! Not being able to film will not stop us and should not stop you from making great video content. Luckily, design and animation is our daily business at TILT Amsterdam and it can be done from the safety of our homes. It may seem slightly ironic but we believe team effort is the only way out of this crisis. We would like to express this through not charging any costs for adapting creative concepts and scripts into something that will be a great starting point for an animated film.
Vlado Pavlik, Content Marketing at Mangools
The current situation is an opportunity to try new things. And if your marketing budget is low due to the financial instability brought by the crisis, you can start focusing on channels that do not require a lot of money: 1) SEO 2) Content marketing 3) Social media presence
Here’s my tip: Create an outstanding piece of content that will solve one particular problem people from your niche/industry are dealing with. And by outstanding, I mean “the best on the internet”. Something you would link to or share immediately. Do not sell. Do not promote your brand. Just try to help.
Optimize it for search engines, share it with your audience on social media, reach out to people who might be interested via email.
Although the results won’t be immediate, over time, this piece of content can become a stable source of new traffic (=new potential customers) to your website. Even after the crisis is over.
Aadil Razvi, Growth Marketer at Demand Curve
- Switch in-person events to virtual events. Use Zoom’s breakout feature to mimic small group discussions.
- Cut your media spend in the short-term. Save the capital for when your market is ready to buy your services, then scale up.
- Create a ton of work-from-home and COVID-19 related content. It’s what people are actively looking for.
- Reduce budgets by at least 10%. Start stockpiling the cash in case things continue to trend down.
Luca Micheli, CEO at Customerly
When I saw the Customerly’s MRR losses due the Covid I decided to fight back with some help to our customers and aggressive marketing. First we decided to help businesses and share with them our juicy pro plan for free for 3 months. That means free live chat, unlimited email marketing, and funnels. With a human caring email we shared the FIGHTCOVID coupon to fight the economic impact on our SMBs. We saw an increase in the amount of people brought to the upgrade page.
By increasing the customer care quality, giving them 1000% of value in terms of Onboarding help, we increased the number of basic accounts that trusted us to upgrade to a pro plan. We have also started to seeing more Intercom customers switching to Customerly due to a more affordable pricing.
One thing is missing in this recipe: mindset. You need to see opportunities in this situation. People now have more time to learn. This is why we launched our Academy to share marketing tips and best practices with those who want to learn during the lockdown.
Observe how your customers and prospects change their behaviors and needs and find ways to help them more and better. The given results are just a matter of time. Stay strong.
Jessie Caldwell, Marketing & Events Specialist at Obodo
Work on your content strategy. No matter what type of business you have, working on developing your content strategy is paramount right now. Getting your content including blogs, videos, guides and more in front of the right people is essential in helping to grow your business.
Work on developing content to help, advise and educate customers rather than what your latest product lines are. This type of content is hot and will help you gain more traffic to your site and increase brand awareness.
Dinesh Ravindran, Marketing Director at Paperflite
This COVID-19 is bringing the whole world onto its knees. We, as marketers play a huge role in this time to make sure we, our enterprise and our society doesn’t face the backlash as much.
While are there many strategies for responsible marketing in the wake of Coronavirus, it is time to pause all your existing and ongoing campaigns, asses them on the relevancy and restart based on the need. Be cognizant of the content (imagery, language and tone) that you use on your communication. It’s not the time to brag on your wins or new awards. Most importantly, reach out to your customers and let them know that you can help. As long as your content has the focus on helping people, your marketing doesn’t have to stop.
You would have anyway put a pause on all your events, conferences and trade-shows, nonetheless let your content speak for you. Keep them informed, keep them engaged. If you would like any assistance there, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help you.
Etee Dubey, Content and Outreach Specialist at Outgrow
A pandemic does put a lot of things into perspective. Exhibit A: our digital marketing strategy.
As our businesses adapted to the changes that COVID-19 brought, we realized that our marketing strategy needed to do the same. We realized that more and more professionals started working from home. This increased the importance of a digital marketing tactic that could cut through the noise. That is when we realized that interactive content marketing was more important than ever. It helped us get increased engagement and almost double the conversion rates. Moreover, it helped us get more information on our customers so we could help them with personalized solutions.
Devin McHatten, Owner at Telos Digital Marketing
The Coronavirus outbreak has affected people from all over the world. While things have changed dramatically for many of us, now is still a great time to market your business but do so differently than what you’re used to.
Almost all industries have been effected in some way and the businesses that are doing well have still found a way to fulfill their customer’s needs. Restaurants have pivoted to curbside and delivery. Doctors have started to perform telemedicine to meet patients needs. Find a way to innovate and meet the demands that are still there and then let people know how you’re there to help.
Connect with your audience but don’t try to oversell in your marketing efforts. Acknowledge that the Coronavirus has made it hard but maintain a positive attitude. Local businesses are getting a lot of community support right now. Communities are pulling together to support the businesses they love so use your current and past customers to make a connection. If you can make connection with your customers now, not only will they buy from you but you will turn them into loyal customers for the future.
Jacek Wieczorek, Co-founder at Pulno
Now that most of the people are stuck at home, the use of the Internet reaches its peak. People browse and use websites they know and like, but they are also eager to try something new. It is a good time to work on your site and highlight your presence on the Internet. Run a website audit and check for any issues that may stop you from ranking higher, fix those issues, and then optimize your site to make your site visible and easier to be found.
Aida Grigoryan, Content Strategist at Incredo
When COVID-19 entered almost all countries and industries, it was clear that prewritten marketing strategies had to be adjusted to the global situation. If you keep on acting as if nothing has happened, you lose the connection with your audience and stop being in their interests.
Here at Incredo we published blog posts that not just touch the coronavirus topic but also teach the readers what steps to take and how be effective these days. Let me explain with examples.
The first post we published was Incredo’s guide on remote work. We shared experience-based tips because general guides and suggestions can be found easily on Google and social media.The second post we published was a collection of marketing campaigns that SaaS companies launched during coronavirus. It was not featuring free or discounted software: marketing is more than prices and discounts. We listed volunteering, charity, giveaway campaigns that SaaS companies shared with us.
- Your marketing strategy should acknowledge the existence of virus and offer content your audience wants to consume.
- Don’t publish coronavirus-related posts just to mention the virus, make sure your content is educational and to the point, not just emotional.
- Don’t repeat what everyone else is doing these days. Even if you publish a WFH guide, make it stand out.
- Keep focus on your core audience and topics. Our main readers are SaaS teams and we created a really useful, practical, up-to-date post for them that you can’t find anywhere else.