How are you doing San Diego marketers? Wondering how to win when marketing during COVID-19? You’re not alone!
These past few weeks have certainly been unusual (to say the least) as COVID-19 turned the world upside down almost overnight. As you well know, most San Diego businesses have temporarily closed their doors, asking many employees to either work from home or take some time off.
This is certainly a time of chaos for many companies as they scramble to keep things afloat during these strange circumstances. Some industries are certainly having a harder time than others, like restaurants and airlines.
But for San Diego marketing agencies, this can actually be a time that is full of opportunity.
Now is not the time for brands to scale back on marketing, even though budgets may be tighter for some of your clients. Businesses are still just as important today as they were before and consumers are going to continue to need their products and services. Plus, new opportunities abound as people will be spending more time online when they are at home.
Times of chaos have been when some brands thrived by adapting to the changing market.
For instance, during the 2008 recession, companies like Netflix provided a less-expensive and more convenient alternative to cable TV or going out to the movies. Domino’s decided to unveil a new recipe to position themselves as the best-tasting delivery pizza option, which helped them pull in higher profits than ever during the recession.
There is a right way to handle marketing during times of chaos and a wrong way. Using the same strategies might not be as effective, and you need to know how and when to adjust.
Here are four ways San Diego marketers can be altering their approach to help brands continue to thrive even during these uncertain, chaotic times.
Stick to Positive Messaging
Now is not the time to join in on spreading panic or focusing on the negative aspects of this chaotic time. Leave that to the news stations and “experts” on social media!
Now is also not the time to greedily capitalize on people’s fear. You may have heard that some retailers have jacked up their prices on essentials like toilet paper or hand sanitizer as people were starting to stockpile. While there is certainly an opportunity to make an easy profit, this practice is really only perpetuating the pandemonium of the situation.
Instead, focus on positive messaging – and thank your customers for their continued support.
For instance, Emmy’s Organics posted this message on their Instagram to personally thank their customers for purchasing their products.
This doesn’t mention COVID-19 specifically, but given the current circumstances, people understand exactly why their support is so critical and appreciated.
Many businesses have had to adjust their procedures during this time by having employees work from home or provide online services rather than meeting with customers in-person. Even if you are not necessarily changing your services or offerings, you have to remember that your customer’s behaviors are changing. Your marketing strategies need to be adjusted, too.
More people are working from home, spending more time online, and decreasing their exposure with others. You need to position your products and services in a way that fits with people’s new behaviors. This might include providing sources of entertainment, personal improvement, or ways to save money.
For example, home delivery businesses like Blue Apron are offering the exact same services as before. But, they are positioning themselves as a solution since it allows people to stay at home and still have delicious meals without having to go to the grocery store or order from restaurants.
Be Mindful of Your Marketing Messages
Be sure you consider the current situation during the content creation process and that none of your messaging could come across as insensitive or offensive. Taking the situation too lightly or offending people could ruin your brand’s reputation.
For instance, KFC recently had to pull their latest marketing campaign since the key catchphrase on their ads was “Finger Licking Good.”
While this messaging would be totally fine otherwise, given the circumstances, it is rather dangerous advice since health professionals are urging people to follow good hygiene and avoid touching their face.
Integrate Newly Trending Keywords in Your Content
Keyword research is more important than ever – as consumer search behavior is going to be shifting during times of crisis. People are going to be searching for information and advice. So, stepping up your content marketing to answer these questions is a great way to grow your traffic – even if your business is temporarily shut down.
If you take a look on Google Trends, you can see exactly what search phrases are trending in relation to the current COVID-19 situation.
Now, not all of these queries may be relevant to your business or marketing clients, per se. You might need to get a bit creative here to ensure that your content is still relevant.
For instance, Hum Nutrition is slightly adjusting their blog’s focus to topics related to social distancing, boosting the immune system, and healthy recipes.
These are all relevant to the current situation – people staying at home will be looking for this kind of content.
Prepare for a Changed Future
The most important thing for San Diego marketers to remember is that this will all pass. However, marketing during COVID-19 and after will be different, and brands need to be prepared for it.
For instance, people may be more inclined to use online shopping and delivery amenities. Businesses may also be more interested in offering remote services to cut costs and provide more flexibility to both customers and employees.
Stay on the lookout for opportunities that you can capitalize on – both currently and in the future.
For example, some people may enjoy engaging with online workout classes rather than going to the gym. Therefore, gyms, personal trainers, and fitness centers should be planning to continue these online classes even when they are able to open their doors again.
In the B2B sector, companies like Zoom, Trello, and Slack will certainly have new opportunities to capitalize on as working from home may become a more permanent option for some.
The key here is to stay ahead of the curve as much as possible. Keep an eye out for new opportunities and consider how things will be changing as a result of the current situation.
Marketing is truly more important than ever and brands need to mix things up to stay relevant. Times like these force us to slow down and rethink – something that is quite important for us busy marketers.
These are certainly unprecedented times and many businesses are fearful of what its impact will be on their bottom line. It is crucial that marketers create content to help companies connect with their customers during these strange times.
Joanna Besley is a Content Marketing Writer for E2M Solutions Inc., whose primary writing focus is on marketing topics and SEO. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the San Diego area hikes, traveling outside of the country, and trying out new vegan restaurants.