The Art of Digital Marketing in Uncertain Times

smartz-google-partner-analyticsThe coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving quickly. Marketing in these times of uncertainty can force you to make adjustments to the previous thought out plan, but it can also work to your advantage. Keeping a steady, consistent presence to your client community creates awareness and empathy that will bolster long term results. Having timely, transparent and proactive messaging with your customers builds trust and brand awareness to your product or service during and after all this passes. Your efforts will not go unnoticed!

Here are some helpful best practices to reach your clients where they are today and create relevant messaging.

Marketing COVID-19 Best Practices

Your Website Announcement

Use your front-facing website communication for updates about your business to your audience. If you have any questions on the recommended updates, the team at Smartz is here to help, contact us.

Updates to include:

  1. Notifications of any changes in company hours, closures, event date changes.
  2. Availability of remote work or customer services inquiries.
  3. Statement on whether your business is deemed ‘essential’ in states of ‘shelter in place’ orders.
  4. Reassurances to keep employees safe and protocol or policy updates in client-facing situations are recommended.
  5. Personalized, empathetic tone while still maintaining professionalism offers the informative, yet supportive content your clients need. Let the audience know. your team is here and they are here to help. The Owner or CEO signature in the letter format for the response is recommended.
  6. Use authoritative website resource links like CDC, WHO, and state agencies.
  7. Date and time stamp all updates and communications.
  8. Conclude response with an invitation to reach out for any additional questions or concerns, and include a link to contact info or page.
  9. Review site for old outdated information and update with current content.
  10. Add a highly visible banner, image or text on top landing pages (such as the home page) or all pages to link to your response landing page.
  11. If not a landing page, update your blog with a new post about the situation and how it will be affecting your business. Use the blog for updates as well.

Google My Business (GMB)

google-my-business-exampleUse and update your Google My Business profile to update your information to your clients and customers. These updates will flow to your GMB Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.

  • Create a post letting the public know what is happening. Be transparent and honest. Don’t over-promise a return date. Update as necessary.
  • Update your hours to reflect the current hours of operation. Google may delay approval of these or have a COVID-19 default messaging.

Digital Advertising

Although it’s tempting to reduce or cut off digital advertising spend budgets, keeping a presence with your digital campaigns will ensure that you keep ahead of your competitors. Competitors may take over your brand searches if not careful. It’s imperative that all messaging is reviewed to meet the context of today’s environment and not showcase inappropriate imagery or content. For example, a crowded pool of people to advertise a real estate community may have worked previously but doesn’t meet what clients need to see today. You had been working on creating momentum before this DO NOT stop now, just pivot or refocus!

Questions on your campaigns? Smartz is here to help. Our paid advertising experts in Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other channels can help guide this process in potential reallocation.

Additional tips we utilize and recommend include:

  • Review campaigns and remove any negative keywords that might link your business to this current situation.
  • Take a look at your exclusion lists. Do you need to add any new websites to make sure your display ads are not showing on sites you don’t want them to.
  • Consider a remarketing/retargeting campaign as your audience is online and currently is very active.
  • Grow your reach. Use other channels to deliver your message to an audience not previously tapped into. Diversification will cast a wide net.
  • Again, review all ad content and display or video visuals to make sure all are contextually correct and reach audiences with the right messaging.

Social Media

social-media-appsStaying in front of your audience is going to be key to coming out of this situation hitting the ground running with trust higher than ever. Social media can give you a lot of visibility to let your audience know what is happening and strike a slightly lighter or more personal tone than your website. Frequent updates and frank transparency is a great way to keep your customers up to speed on what is happening and reach out to your community to see what questions or struggles they may be having.

Social media marketing tips include:

  • Monitor your social profiles daily for any questions, comments or concerns you need to address.
  • Post policy and news updates to all channels.
  • Link your main website and COVID-19 landing page back from your social media.
  • Focus on the present. Review any upcoming ads or promotions you had going and decide if they are still relevant and update as needed.
  • Let the audience know how the team is still working even as the daily situation continues to change.
  • Post good news as well. Make sure you have some positive information to share.
  • Connect with your community via polls, interviews, testimonials & reviews – stay connected.

Marketing Data and Analytics

seo-digital-marketing-agencyContinuously reviewing the data in Google Analytics and other tools to see shifts in search position, traffic and performance will guide where to put your marketing energy. Be open to making adjustments to the existing plans if the data patterns warrant a different approach – stay nimble and active.

Review questions include:

  • Reviewing if the situation warrant changes to the Key Performance Indicators?|
  • Is the traffic you are getting to your site going to where you want it to go?
  • Have you increased or decreased your ad spend during this and annotated to see variations in your results?
  • Where are you seeing the best results from your efforts?

As a digital marketing agency with 30 years experience, we are doing everything we can with our clients to guide them during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions about your marketing plan, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Although all remote, we are virtually working hand-in-hand to adjust, maintain and grow your brand awareness and help create opportunities during this time. Stay safe everyone!

– The Smartz Team

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Additional Resources:

SearchEngineLand – Reducing digital marketing due to COVID-19? Read this first

BrightLocal – GMB Features Suspended Due to Covid-19: What’s Changed and How It Affects BrightLocal Customers

Google for Small Business – Resources to help your small business manage through uncertainty

Think With Google – Plethora of resources