The Importance of Online Marketing During COVID-19
The advent of COVID-19 has reverberated all over the world and barely an industry or country has not been touched by it. As businesses struggled at the beginning to pivot and keep operations going many turned to their social media channels to communicate with their customers. The onset of COVID-19 served as a reminder of many things; one of the more interesting things learned is our overwhelming dependence and reliance on social media and online marketing.
At Insiteful Solutions, we were fortunate that many of our team already work remotely so we could easily turn our attention to our clients and help them update their websites with new operating info and make sure their social media accounts reflected the numerous changes happening in real-time.
No matter what business you are in, COVID-19 has brought into focus the importance of staying on top of both your website and social media accounts. The success or failure of businesses during recent months was largely dependent on their ability to re-focus their offerings to online operations while keeping all interactions with customers safe. During the initial days of COVID-19 we had numerous panicked businesses contact us as they had never really invested in an online platform for sales nor had they engaged their customer base on social media. Fortunately, we were happy to quickly help get their business online and plan for the future.
At Insiteful Solutions, we are experts in online marketing and social media engagement – which is why we are pleased to share all we have learned during COVID-19 so businesses can prepare for future disruption to their regular business practice.
One of the most important things we learned in recent months is that businesses that attempted to carry on as if COVID-19 was not taking place and would pass quickly not only lost customers but their brands took a severe hit. Not responding to worldwide events, or responding badly, can do more damage to your business than almost anything else. For the month of March 2020, Facebook reported an incredible 70% increase in use; people were at home and were looking for ways to connect, be entertained and learn more about the situation. This is why it is so important for you to engage with your customer base on social media.
Setting the Tone
From the outset of any worldwide event that impacts people’s lives and business operations, it is important to quickly decide on the tone you wish to set through your social media channels and website.
While it may seem obvious the most important thing you need to convey is empathy and concern – not just for your staff and customers – but for everyone. Showing that your business can put aside concerns of commerce and rise above the desire to compete in a quickly contracting marketplace shows that your company and its leadership are confident and care about something beyond the bottom line. During the first two to three weeks of the pandemic, Insiteful Solutions advised our clients to focus on people’s well-being and share when appropriate information on how people could still interact with your business. One of the most important things we were able to do for nearly all our clients was to make sure the President/CEO of the company sent a personal message to customers via email, the company website and social media channels. Unlike most messages from senior leadership, these messages contained no ‘ask’ – but were mainly a message to check-in with customers and to assure people that all precautions were being taken to move forward safely. We found that these messages helped greatly to build a sense of community and connect people.
Don’t Forget Email For Online Marketing
Email turned out to be one of the most, if not the most, effective ways to reach out to customers. By tapping into your email lists you can communicate directly to people who have previously engaged with your business and brand. While social media is incredibly effective, messages on these channels can lack a personal touch. Email access to customers has proved very beneficial for our clients as a way to create an exchange of communication between the company and the client.
Whether you’re just exploring social media or you’re experienced but trying to navigate this new world, the steps below will guide you to the right solution.
Don’t Forget the Data
Whether your company had excellent data on your customer base before COVID-19 or not, recent months have proven that companies can never relax when it comes to data collection. To communicate effectively with your customer base and potential customers it is much easier to hit the right tone if you understand thoroughly who your audience is. If you have been in business for several years you may feel that you understand your customer and don’t need any more information – incorrect! People change, people age, and people respond to crises differently depending on many factors.
Once we passed through the first few weeks of COVID-19 we started advising clients to start re-thinking and updating their data collection. The basics were fairly simple: make sure your name/age/address capture was up to date so you could identify who exactly you were speaking to. Then we encouraged them to do a deeper dive and try to find out how their customers were doing as they coped with COVID-19. If you are a global business your customers in New York were probably coping and feeling differently than your customers in New Zealand. If your customer base average age is 27 then they would probably be feeling differently about things than if your average age is 65. All of this information can feedback into your marketing strategy that will guide your company into the future. By having this information on hand you can tailor your messaging and make sure you are hitting the right tone and providing the best information needed by your customers.
Work with the Present, Plan for the Future.
It is difficult (near impossible in fact), to know what the future holds. But as COVDI-19 ebbs and different parts of the world get back to a more ‘normal’ level of functioning it is still an incredible time to learn about our shared ‘new normal’ and how it will impact your business. No matter what market you operate in a few if any, businesses will not be majorly changed by COVID-19. Taking the lessons learned and data collected from the last few months can better prepare your company for the future if these lessons are applied in the right way.
At Insiteful Solutions, we are fortunate to have clients across Canada and around the globe. We have guided over 50 clients in recent months in their online marketing efforts. Whether your company has been operating for a year or ten years we know we can help guide you during this challenging time. Give us a call today to get started.
No one can give you an accurate prediction of what the immediate future holds for brands and marketers. We know that this crisis will end eventually, and we know that right now, at least, there’s a lot of uncertainty on a variety of fronts. As such, we can’t plan as far into the future as we would have before. We need to be nimble and agile in our approaches and able to pivot to the next thing at any moment. If your organization is already functioning this way, congratulations! You’re in a good position. If not, now is as good of a time as any to start.
Please visit our contact page if you have any questions about online marketing or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – 905-947-8235 x 103