by David Lawrence on May 11, 2020 | Design, Writing and Video Rocket News

One of the first (marketing) things we did when COVID-19 hit Australia was update the messaging on our website. With so many businesses unsure of their own future, it was critical that website visitors knew that it was business as usual for the Rocket team.

Adopting messaging that used COVID-19 language showed at the very least that we were active and had the presence of mind to update our website. Just as importantly, the messaging reflected our position in terms of the role digital marketing (and Rocket as a digital marketing agency) had in terms of helping our clients to recover.

Here’s what our homepage looked like in March 2020 just after COVID-19 hit.

This change helped visitors immediately understand where we were positioning ourselves and put us in a strong position relative to those competitors whose websites had remained unchanged.

As of May 2020 our homepage messaging no longer contains direct references to COVID-19. We’ve reverted to the messaging we were successfully using before the pandemic hit. So the answer to the opening question “Is it time to stop using COVID-19 messaging?” is a YES for Rocket.

Here’s what our homepage looks like today:

The answer to the question around core messaging is something you need to consider for your business and more importantly your prospects. But here was our thinking when it came to our visitors and prospects:

  1. We never had to shut down. As much as the Rocket team normally works together in an office, it’s really not been a problem working from home (some of us are loving it in fact). Our prospects and customers would all assume as much. It’s not like we’re a retailer where customers would still be wondering if we’re open for business. Or a gym we’re they know we’re not. We felt that the impact of COVID-19 was no longer front of mind when thinking about a digital marketing agency.
  2. We’re all a bit sick of COVID-19. Over the past month or so there has been a steady increase in articles discussing the fatigue that has settled in around engagement levels for COVID-19 specific messaging. Back in March and April the world was full of unknowns and reading articles and emails about COVID-19 was helping make things clearer. Now most people just want to get on with their lives and discover what the new normal looks like for their business so they can create a plan to respond to it. 
  3. We’d seen engagement metric for our emails decrease. In the first few weeks anything we sent out with the word COVID-19 performed brilliantly. This started to change in April and in May we’re predicting regular content and search patterns will start to resume. 
  4. Messaging always needs to reflect value offered or problems solved. In many ways, this is the big one and should be the measure you use when working out if it’s time to move away from your COVID-19 specific messaging. Does a mention of COVID-19 best reflect the problem your prospects are trying to solve? Does it best show how you can offer them a specific value? Does it best tap into a conversation going on in their minds? For Rocket prospects, we no longer felt it did. Prospects are back to needing digital marketing to deliver growth via sales or leads. Is it a COVID-19 problem? No, not any more it’s not.

What else does this mean for Rocket in terms of our messaging and content?

When COVID-19 first hit we invested a huge amount of time in creating two significant pieces of content.

The first piece was a list of ideas for marketers looking to help their companies survive the coronavirus pandemic called the “The COVID-19 Marketing Survival Handbook”.

The second piece was focussed on what comes next as businesses look to move from survival to adoption. When we launched it in early April it was called “The COVID-19 Marketing Manifesto”.

Both these guides were downloaded at rates we’ve not previously seen with our marketing. There is no doubt COVID-19 language was a huge part of their success. But we knew this wouldn’t last forever and like all good content marketers the plan was always to repurpose this content in an effort to make it evergreen.

We’ve already taken the first step by renaming “The COVID-19 Marketing Manifesto” to “The Recession Marketing Manifesto”. Australia may not technically be in recession yet, but we almost certainly will be soon. And when this happens recession marketing will have relevance for months or years to come.

Shortly, the COVID-19 Marketing Survival Handbook will get the same treatment and become a Recession Survival Handbook. Right now though, we still want to have some COVID-19 content on our site though so this will wait a little longer. 

What does it mean for you?

It’s really simple. You need to get into the minds of your prospects and understand what they need from you. Is COVID-19 still top of mind for them in terms of your offering? Or have they moved on?

The words you use to communicate to your perfect prospects can and should change as their reality changes. We’re expecting and planning for further changes to our marketing message as the new normal becomes clearer later in the year.

You can’t read the label from inside the bottle

It’s very common for a client to come to us with a great looking website which fails horribly at getting prospects to take action. So often this is because they are in a bubble which makes it impossible to see things from the perspective of a prospect. They write about how they see their industry and offering rather than how their prospects see things. If you’re worried this might be you, then get in touch! We’d love to have a chat about how we’ve solved messaging problems for clients just like you. Contact us or call us on 1300 059 620.

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