Needless to say, the COVID-19 crisis and the population lockdown brings several challenges to businesses. Marketing professionals need to review all of their strategies and assess whether they are still relevant or whether they need to :
- Modify it
- Pause it
- Develop a replacement strategy
- Developing entirely new strategies from scratch
Some strategies will, unfortunately, have to go into the closet for some time, but others are still very relevant, even in our situation. These are some strategies you can focus on to keep your business afloat, but also to keep people from forgetting about you.
We have therefore listed marketing tactics that are still relevant in times of crisis, which we hope will inspire some possible campaigns on your side.
Launching contests right now is a tactic that can make the situation feel a little lighter. Right now, everything people see, read, and hear is related to COVID-19. So there is a certain heaviness in their daily lives and talking about something else can do the greatest good. That’s why launching a contest can be a good idea, especially if it’s well suited to the situation!
An action on a contest can go towards sharing a photo, answering a question, leaving a comment, watching a live show, following someone, subscribing, etc.
What is most interesting is that being almost all confined, the lowest cheapest reward can become the most interesting for many: our needs having returned to basic needs. For example, I know several people who would give anything to get a haircut right now… It can also be a free monthly subscription to a streaming service like Netflix, comfortable pajamas, a recipe book, or a board game!
In short, let your imagination run wild, try to find out what people need the most right now and what they do for entertainment and build on it. Participants will certainly appreciate the attention, even if the value of the prize is not the highest.
In addition, by offering smaller (but no less useful) prizes, you will also be able to hold contests more regularly and increase your visibility in the longer term. And since we do not know how long we will be confined, it is also a question of being careful in terms of spending.
On the other hand, if you are not able to offer your own products or services, try to choose rewards that relate to your business and align well with your brand image. You can also make partnerships to ensure you have good visibility with a secondary clientele.
And now, more than ever, offering Quebec products is highly appreciated by the population (and by the economy!). It shows that you are doing your part, that you are part of the movement to support local businesses. In addition, you make other Quebec companies known to your subscribers, if they are not your own products. We are in a time of war, it is time to let go of our individualism and stick together. Supporting local businesses is a very good way to do this, while at the same time not being forgotten.
When it comes to broadcasting your contest, it all depends on your objective… If you want to direct people to your website, you can create a form to fill in on it, or make a landing page dedicated to this contest. This way, you can continue to generate traffic to your website and collect new customer data. Both solutions are easily implemented with the Dialog Insight platform.
On the other hand, I also recommend sharing your contest on your social networks because they are the most used channels at the moment. Any interaction we have with others is done via social networks, so that’s where you’ll have the greatest reach. This will allow you to create more excitement around your contest.
2. Social Medias
As mentioned earlier, Facebook (to name a few) has been experiencing record-breaking traffic since the lockdown. That simple sentence should have rang a little bell inside you: Ding! Ding! Ding! Opportunity!
With the economy slowing down and business activity slowing down (at least for the most part), why not take the time to address the issue of social media?
For those who already have a clear and effective social media strategy, you will obviously have to adapt it to today’s situation. For the others, those who use social networks a bit out of obligation or because their competitors are on them, but without really having a strategy… Well, now is the perfect time to review your network usage!
Test different approaches, get creative and create engaging publications that will spark conversations… it’s time to talk to your community, they’re listening more than ever! And lives have never been so popular. Go for it!
3. Connect with your Audience
Right now, many of your customers are probably desperate for entertainment. So take this opportunity to create content for everyone who has time to listen, read, or watch you.
It’s also a great opportunity to connect with your customers, ask them questions, interact with them and take the pulse of their needs. If you’re not sure what’s relevant to your customers right now, ask them directly, they’ll certainly appreciate that you care.
Take advantage of Ask Me Anything on Instagram stories, or start discussion polls directly on your social pages.
You’ll then be able to create content that suits their needs and keeps you on top of things. You can either position yourself as an expert (offer training, webinars, online podcasts, write blog posts, etc.), entertain your contacts in any way related to your industry, or simply inform or educate them.
Now more than ever, the online shopping experience needs to be optimized and seamless. Every step of the way must be thought out, in order to offer added value and move your prospects towards buying. There is more time than ever for browsing, comparing prices, asking questions … you don’t want ambushes in the online shopping process that lead to shopping cart abandonment.
Which bring us to the next tactic of shopping cart abandonment. It consists in spotting when a contact adds an item to their shopping cart, but leaves without having bought what they wanted. Then you contact this person (email is the most common form of communication for this type of communication) reminding them that they have forgotten an item in their shopping cart and that it is still available if they change their mind. Some companies include a discount in this communication to help finalize the purchase, which usually works very well.
It’s a golden tactic, and it’s not that difficult to implement if you’re using a platform like Dialog Insight. We have a team that can help you with this strategy.
Great news for this E-commerce portion, it will now be possible for companies to sell for free on Google. Although this is being deployed first in the US, this opportunity should arrive globally by the end of the year. You could take advantage of these calmer times to plan your sales strategy at this level.
5. Loyalty Program
If you have a loyalty program, this is a good time to review it and adapt it to our new reality. Some rewards will not be available for a long time still, and some ways to accumulate points are currently not possible. It is therefore important to review this, as your customers will benefit from it to better recover after the crisis.
Conversely, if your program is on the rise given the circumstances of the crisis, don’t see it as taking advantage of your clients, but rather as a way to help them. Again, if you need to review the rewards, the actions to be taken… why not. But don’t hesitate to communicate these benefits to your clients so that they too can make the most of them.
If you don’t have a loyalty program in place, now may be a good time to develop one. This is a time for generosity and all human actions are appreciated. So don’t lose this chance to thank your customers who support you in these difficult times and find a way to reward them appropriately. Just like contests, it doesn’t have to be a huge reward. The smallest prize can make the happiest people happy, you just have to know your customers’ needs and bet on it.
Also consider removing any deadlines on your rewards. Since everything is uncertain at the moment, it’s more prudent to ensure the satisfaction of your most loyal customers. Some of them are probably unemployed, or simply not using your products right now. It is therefore important to guarantee that they can use their rewards when everything is back to normal, even if they no longer buy your products during the crisis.
6. Segmentation and Personas
Of course, such strategies cannot be done properly without segmentation tactics and the development of personas. These are two elements that are normally paramount and even more important now. Knowing your customers is the key to all your strategies.
Maybe you already did it before, and that’s great! However, you should redo the exercise to understand what your clients have become in times of confinement. Those at the top of the prioritization pyramid are potentially at home taking care of the family, or on indefinite unemployment. How does this affect your offer? If you are close enough to some of your customers, why not ask them to get the pulse directly, mainly in B2B.
Does that mean throwing away all the work you’ve done? No, it doesn’t! Instead, you’ll have adapted personas, and most likely new segments based on these analyses. Plus, if you have the tools to measure your data and understand behavioral changes, take the time to do so.
This will allow you to send the right communications to the right people and not irritate segments of customers for whom the situation has changed. It’s important to remain relevant in spite of everything. This step will also help you improve your overall customer experience.
7. Influence marketing
Influence marketing always has its place among your marketing tactics. Especially since we are more than ever on our social networks. A tactic like this has many advantages, and it has also evolved since the crisis.
First, influencers are ready to encourage and actively engage in promoting local businesses. Some even do so for free, without expecting something in return. You could therefore send products to them and invite them to share them in their community. You might be surprised at the results.
Alternatively, you can go through more traditional avenues, either by paying for the promotion of a particular content, providing an affiliate link, or providing a specific discount code for the influencer to spoil his followers. These approaches are all the more interesting today given the increasing use of most social platforms. This is a more engaged audience than you will find in other current channels.
You could even go further and start thinking about the post-crisis period. Companies can make longer-term partnerships with certain influencers, which can be interesting because the relationship between the two parties develops over time, and this can bring benefits to everyone.
Finally, it should be noted that influencers are self-employed. Since they are a type of worker particularly affected by the crisis, if your company can afford it, it could be interesting to support them with different approaches.
In conclusion, many of the pre-crisis tactics are still relevant, but they need to be revisited with adaptation and empathy. We are living in an exceptional situation, which means that the same rules do not necessarily apply.
Moreover, since everyone seems to have more time, why not do some tests? Think about different hypotheses, about nesting the different pieces of your marketing strategy, especially thinking about what will apply after the crisis.