What marketing can do during and after the corona crisis

Photo Written by André Gussekloo

The corona crisis has the world in its grip. What first seemed a distant memory in relatively unknown Wuhan, is now the daily reality in the Netherlands and the rest of the world. Regardless of our age or health, we should stay home as much as possible to sit out this pandemic.

Everyone is affected by this - so are organizations. What can you -and specifically as a marking department- do during this period? How do you keep perspective and avoid working reactively in the delusion of the day? How can you use your time and budget meaningfully to emerge from the crisis with as little damage as possible, or even stronger than before? Which of the following measures have you taken and can you still take?

Brief summary of this article

No time for 1,500 words? Here are the essentials for each paragraph:

  • Allow for declining or delayed orders from customers.
  • A crisis also presents opportunities. Unusual partnerships emerge and companies that are flexible may even flourish.
  • Communicate to customers what your organization is doing in this time of crisis, exuding calm.
  • Check how your website is doing technically and benefit by revitalizing your SEO efforts.
  • Do branding; online advertising is now much cheaper and will give you an edge over competitors when we get out of this crisis again.
  • Conduct a content audit with the goal of keeping your content on-topic and current.
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A crisis also offers opportunities

Business owners are also searching in an emergency situation. Like others, they try to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, this also leads to the cancellation of orders, a halt on vacancies, a conservative course or cuts in the marketing budget. As marketers, we regret the latter, because marketing is precisely one of the few tools with which you can create success in a crisis period.

"Never let a crisis go to waste," Winston Churchill said of it. Living through a crisis is the best way to learn to deal with it. But what opportunities are there exactly for companies that keep their cool?

There are also companies that actually flourish during a crisis. Either because they operate in an industry of need, or because they adapt quickly to the new reality. In many cases the Internet is an indispensable link.

Advertising, in whatever medium, is now noticeably cheaper. Some 50% of advertisers have paused their campaigns and the rates for advertising on Facebook have dropped significantly. This means that companies that do not cut back on marketing can now get much more out of their media budget - up to double. As a marketing professional, you should fight for your marketing budget now.

Companies now also have the opportunity to show their human side and demonstrate that they care about the situation. Supermarkets donate products to food banks, companies donate mouthguards and gloves to hospitals and all kinds of companies have pledged money for the development of a coronavaccine.

Finally, the fact that everyone is sitting at home also presents opportunities. More orders are placed online and people now have more time to read blog posts or white papers or watch videos.

What marketers can do during corona crisis

There is a good chance that your organization will not increase its turnover during the corona crisis. Many companies are keeping a tight hold on their purse strings and that has a knock-on effect.

As a marketer you feel responsible for the preservation of your livelihood and the sensible use of resources. So where can you best shift your attention and budget? The following tasks and tactics prove to be good investments in times of crisis.

Be creative

During a crisis, creativity is rewarded. By being flexible and making unorthodox decisions, you can turn a threat into an opportunity. Also pay attention to the cooperation agreements you have with other companies. What actions are they taking? How can you help each other?

For example, this is the time for restaurants to focus on home delivery and for clothing companies to start making mouthguards. Safety, hygiene and health are now top-of-mind among consumers and companies. Saving or earning money will become important topics for everyone within a few months, when the recession hits. What opportunities do you see in that area?

Continue to communicate via phone, videocall, email, newsletters and social media

More than ever, good communication with customers, suppliers, clients and other partners is important. After all, they too have questions and doubts in these uncertain times. Switch the switchboard to the phones of your staff working from home, sit on top of the mailbox and use your social media channels.

In your communication, radiate peace and calm to people. Several of our clients chose, for example, to put pop-ups and overlays on their website with (a link to) more information about the impact of Covid-19 on their business operations.

In your communication, radiate peace and calmness to people.

Carry out a baseline measurement

Use this exceptional period to take a critical look at your online tools. Just as you scrutinize the efficiency of your logistics and administration, you can now pay attention to the vendor that works for you 365 days and 24 hours a day: your website.

To give you a hand, we've teamed up with our partners in performance marketing and SEO to take a closer look at the most successful campaigns from 2018 and 2019. Combined with client feedback, we developed three quick scans for organizations like yours. These scans provide insight in an approachable way and enable you to make data-driven decisions.

  • SEO-Quickscan
    The SEO-Quickscan provides insight into the findability of your website. This Quickscan zooms in on competitors, services or themes that relate to your service and keywords on which you want to be found.
  • SEA Quick Scan
    The SEA Quick Scan provides insight into your advertising opportunities. This quick scan takes your desired outcome, analyzes the feasibility of that outcome and reveals what methods are available to achieve that desired outcome.
  • Website-Quickscan
    The Website-Quickscan provides insight in improvement opportunities in terms of website technique. This quickscan zooms in on the basics of accessibility, speed and off-page SEO in combination with our best practices to optimize your lead generation.

Advertising during the corona crisis

An initial, perhaps logical, reaction of companies to the crisis was to stop their advertising campaigns. After all, there are services and products that are no longer relevant to customers for a while. But those campaigns may well be replaced by other advertisements. This is an excellent opportunity for branding, for telling your unique story and showing what you stand for.

The crisis brings us closer together and with an empathetic campaign you can capitalize on that. Other companies have stopped advertising, so now you can put your brand in the spotlight at an advantageous rate.

Update your website

This is also the opportunity to pick up chores that normally get left behind due to busyness. For example, take a critical look at your website. Does it still meet your needs and does it bring in enough leads?

Update existing website content

OK, your branding is in place, but are you delivering your message consistently? Now that many of the regular activities are off the table for a while, you have more time to do a content audit and see to what extent older content is still up to date.

This quieter period also lends itself well to search engine optimization. Run an SEO Quickscan and see how well you rank for search terms your target audience uses and expand content that is not yet reaching its full potential. SEO efforts are often visible after weeks or months, so just when the economy is recovering.

Marketing after the corona crisis

As hopeless as the situation may seem now, this crisis is temporary. In some time the world will be open again. That society and the economy will look different is a fact. The corona crisis is forcing us to face many facts and we will look back on it as an important turning point in the future.

To govern is to look ahead. This is the opportunity to show leadership and seek support for your long-term vision. After a period of crisis, reconstruction follows. Perhaps the time for extra focus on climate, security and privacy. So don't wait until the crisis is over, but start preparing now so that you are one step ahead of your competitors.

After rain comes sunshine

As the corona crisis comes to an end, we pick up our lives again. We'll go back to running in the park, booking vacations and barbecuing in the garden. The economy will pick up and after a while it will be business as usual. So make sure you are ready for an upturn.

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André Gussekloo Content marketer
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