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Written by Finn Ruijter, 07 April 2020

What marketing can do during and after the corona crisis

The corona crisis has gripped the world. What first seemed like a far cry from our bed-show 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 – including organizations. What can you-and then 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 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? Below are the essentials for each paragraph:

  • Allow for declining or delayed orders from customers.
  • A crisis also offers 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 much cheaper now and gives you an edge over competitors when we step out of this crisis again.
  • Conduct a content audit with the goal of keeping your content on-topic and current.

A crisis also offers opportunities

Entrepreneurs are also searching in an emergency. Like others, they are trying to cope. Unfortunately, that also leads to canceling orders, a vacancy freeze, a conservative course of action or cutting the marketing budget. As marketers, we regret the latter, because marketing is precisely one of the few tools you can use to create success in a time of crisis.

“Never let a crisis go to waste,” Winston Churchill said about this. Living through a crisis is the best way to deal with it. But exactly what opportunities lie ahead for companies that keep their cool?

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

Advertising, in any medium, has now become noticeably cheaper. Some 50% of advertisers have paused their campaigns and rates for advertising on Facebook have dropped significantly. That is, companies that do not cut back on marketing can now get much more out of their media budgets – up to double. As a marketing professional, you especially need to fight for your marketing budget now.

Companies now also have the opportunity to show their human side and show that they care. Supermarkets are donating products to food banks, businesses are donating mouth caps and gloves to hospitals, and a variety of companies have pledged money to develop a corona vaccine.

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

What marketers can do during corona crisis

Chances are, your organization will not be running higher sales during the corona crisis. Many companies are keeping a hand on the purse strings, and that has a domino effect.

As a Marketer, you naturally feel responsible for life preservation and sensible use of resources. So where is the best place to shift your attention and budget? The tasks and tactics below are proving 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 cooperative agreements you have with other companies. What measures 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 mouth caps. Safety, hygiene and health are now top-of-mind among consumers and businesses. Saving or earning money will become important topics for everyone in a few months when the recession hits. What opportunities do you see in that area?

Continue to communicate via phone, video call, 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 during these uncertain times. Switch the phone system to the phones of your home-based staff, sit on top of the mailbox and utilize your social media channels.

In your communication, radiate calmness and composure to people. For example, several of our clients chose to put pop-ups and overlays on their websites with (a link to) more information about the impact of Covid-19 on their business operations.

In your communication, radiate calmness and composure to people.

Perform 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, 24 hours a day: your website.

To give you a hand, together with our partners in performance marketing and SEO, we took a look at the most successful campaigns from 2018 and 2019. Combined with feedback from clients, 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 Quick Scan
    The SEO Quick Scan offers insight into the findability of your website. This Quickscan zooms in on competitors, services or topics related to your services and keywords you would like to be found on.
  • SEA Quick Scan
    The SEA Quick Scan offers 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 Quick Scan
    The Website Quick Scan provides insight into opportunities for improvement in terms of website technology. This quick scan zooms in on the basics of accessibility, speed and off-page SEO combined 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 momentarily no longer relevant to customers. But other ads may well take their place for those campaigns. After all, this is a great opportunity to do branding, to tell your unique story and show what you stand for.

The crisis is bringing us closer together, and an empathetic campaign is a great way to capitalize on that. Other companies have stopped advertising, so now you can highlight your brand at an economical rate.

Update your website

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

Update existing website content

Well, your branding is done, but are you carrying your message consistently? With much of the regular work out of the way for a while, you have more time to do a content audit and see to what extent older content is still current.

This quieter period also lends itself well to search engine optimization. Perform 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 to months, which is exactly when the economy recovers.

Marketing after the corona crisis

As hopeless as the situation seems 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 pushes us face to face with all sorts of facts and we will look back on it in the future as an important turning point.

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

After rain comes sunshine

When the corona crisis ends, we pick up our lives again. We go back to running in the park, booking vacations and barbecuing in the garden. The economy will pick up and in time it will be business as usual. So make sure you are ready for a revival.