1. Update your leading marketing messages immediately
Many businesses have not yet changed their homepage, key landing pages and general marketing message since COVID-19 started. You need to develop two sets of messaging. One for right now and another for when the recovery starts. Get your ‘now’ messaging online today. Check out rocketagency.com.au to see what we’ve done.
2. Accept that video is no longer optional
The incredible growth of Zoom marks, once again, a fundamental shift in people’s desire to consume video content. If you were sitting on the fence with video ads pre-COVID, then you need to take a stand right now. Whatever it is you have to say, you need to urgently work out a way to say it via a video ad. Best of all, know that lower production value is more acceptable now than ever before. We’re even seeing mainstream television shows broadcasting from people’s living rooms, so don’t hesitate to write a script and get in front of your webcam. Your prospects want to consume video - be the company that delivers it to them. Here’s what we had to say about video before the world changed.
3. Consider delaying new product launches
In most industries, prospects are not ready for new products or services. If you’ve been working on something amazing in recent months and the launch is about to happen, then review whether this is the best time. For most businesses, it’s not.
4. Figure out a way to deliver your offering in a contactless (or safer) way
This won’t work for everyone, but is there a creative way to pivot what you do and deliver it in a contactless way? We’ve seen simple but effective examples; Vets meeting in the car park to collect animals, in-house consultations being done via video, and clients and retailers offering simple boxed versions of their offering which can be paid for and collected at the door to reduce time and contact. It’s time to get creative.
But make sure your communication is short and effective. For some businesses, the best communication is one-to-many via email. For others, it’s 1:1 with their team reaching out individually to customers. For some it's a combination. Work out what’s right for your business and make it happen. Make sure your customers know you’re still working and able to offer value and support right now.
6. Review real-time digital marketing performance
The last four weeks have seen the quickest and biggest shift in the Australian economy in 100 years. Given we are in a rapidly changing environment it’s vital to have real-time access to the marketing metrics which matter. As always, forget vanity metrics and focus on the metrics which tell you when revenue is being influenced. This is particularly so for paid media campaigns. Make sure you understand how your CPCs, CPAs and conversion rates are being affected. Don't wait a month or a quarter to assess recent performance. Things are moving too quickly.
7. Build your case-studies
In times of crisis, financial stress and disrupted purchase patterns, buyers really don’t want to make a mistake. Now is the perfect time to build out stronger case studies and other ways of proving you’re the right company to do business with.
We cannot recall a situation where change has been so rapid. Whatever you decide to do, accept that you need to proactively review and change it frequently. Don’t get it right today, only to be in the entirely wrong position in a day, week or month. No-one knows where we will be in three months time. So mentally prepare yourself and your team to pivot.
9. Review your on-hold, time-consuming and long-term project ideas
Some of our clients have excess capacity in their sales and marketing teams right now. Smart marketers are using this time to get stuck into those projects that have always been important, but never urgent enough to actually happen. If you can take this approach, you’ll reap the rewards when this ends. Here’s some quick suggestions - overhaul your website, create a monster piece of content, pick a marketing automation platform, improve your CRM, plan new channels to promote your business in, start a podcast, write a video ad script, convert wordy content to infographics and more. Do not waste this time!
10. Make sure sales and marketing are aligned
In the most innovative and effective companies, sales and marketing work together. When times are good and business is stable, you might have gotten away with thinking sales and marketing were two distinct parts of your business. This is not the case in a crisis. As a matter of urgency, you should ensure that sales and marketing communicate better to best understand the needs of your current and future customers.
11. Invest in professional development
Similar to the point above. If you have downtime, don’t waste it with small changes and tweaks. Use the time to seriously upskill yourself and your team. Here’s a list of our favourite training resources on digital strategy. We’ve also written a book which provides exactly the sort of guidance marketers need at this time.
12. Grow your partnership network
It’s probably been hard to find the time to get out there and meet other businesses who share similar clients to you. And they’ve probably all been too busy as well. Now might be the perfect time to reach out and introduce yourself. The relationships you build and nurture today, could pay off immediately and for a long time to come.
13. Develop strategies to retain your customers
Most businesses will lose a percentage of existing customers for COVID-19 related budget reasons. In some cases this will be unavoidable. Unfortunately, the reality is that some of these customers will never come back. In addition to finding new customers, it’s worth exploring ways to retain existing customers (possibly on lower revenue) so that when this is over you can grow their revenue back to normal levels. Consider being flexible with payment terms (if possible), offering add-ons, putting contracts on hold or pivoting your services. Think long term.
14. Nurture lost clients
The clients you lose through Covid-19 need to be treated differently to normal lost clients. Many will still love you, and will look forward to returning when the world returns to normal. Put together a strategy to engage and inform these people. If you don’t, your competitors will.
15. Do your competitor research
Many of your competitors will be thinking as hard as you are about ways to survive, adapt and thrive through COVID-19. The benefits of competitor research are clearer now than ever before. Before you take any action, you should review the websites, social media and ad campaigns of your competitors. You should do the same for similar companies in different locations. Don’t start your COVID-19 marketing campaign with a blank piece of paper.
16. Ask your customers, ‘How can I help?’
We’re seeing businesses trying to solve their challenges in a vacuum. Remote working is not helping with this. The first step for all of us is to reach out to our clients and see where they could actually benefit. You might just find their answer is your opportunity.
17. Don’t kill your marketing
We might be biased, but there’s a saying, ‘today's marketing is tomorrow's sales’ and this is as true right now as it’s ever been before. Don’t believe me? Consider this article from 2009 by the experts at the Harvard Business Review.
18. Review your tools of the trade
I bet that if you reviewed that marketing tools you’re currently using you’d discover two things. Firstly, there is a bunch of stuff you pay for that generates very little value. And secondly, that there are a bunch of tools you’re not using that would help you generate better results. Now’s the perfect time to research the best way to tackle whatever the future throws at you. Here’s a list of our favourite digital marketing tools.
19. Need to cut budgets? DO NOT cut everything evenly
This might seem obvious, but we’ve seen clients wanting to cut budgets based purely on cost. Before you do something you regret in a few months, review your digital strategy and make sure the budgets you cut relate to things that were of questionable value in the first place. Don’t inadvertently cut the very things that will help you get out of this in one piece or apply a blanket rule of cutting all line items by a flat-percentage. Cut short-term activities that won’t bring a return in these trying times and continue to invest in long-term activities that will help you grow on the other side.
20. Invest in awareness
We’ve long argued that the move to digital marketing has left many companies under-valuing the long-term benefits of brand awareness campaigns. Now is the time to invest in awareness across multiple channels. If you’re not top of mind for your prospects over the next few months, it will be much harder to gain their attention when the crisis is over. Studies like the Harvard Business Review article above, show that it is cheaper to buy awareness in downturns than when economies are booming. This helps brands boom when the economy turns.
21. Clean-up your database
If you have a database, then you also have data quality issues. Take the time now to sort your leads, create better segmented lists and update the quality of your contact records. This effort will pay off in the future.
22. Convert your top-performing blogs to video
As we’ve already mentioned, video is up. Now’s the time to review your top-performing blog content and create scripted or off-the-cuff video content which supports the written word and can also be promoted elsewhere.
23. Invest in building or renewing your marketing assets
Now is the time to produce new video ads, visual & written content for your business. The goal is to add value to the changed lives of your prospects and customers. Entertainment, information and education are in high demand currently and the best forms of these will be consumed by the huge numbers of people stuck at home. The content you relied upon yesterday is probably not perfect for tomorrow.
24. Pretend you’re a prospect
One of the hottest product categories right now is Hand Sanitiser. However a quick review of the ads, landing pages and websites on page one of Google shows that some products are out of stock and cannot be ordered, some are informational pages with no checkout facility and others take you to pages which do not feature the product itself. These companies are wasting their money and frustrating visitors. Don’t assume anything. Pretend to be a prospect. Find your ads, organic listings, remarketing advertising, social media posts and see where they take you and what they say. Would you be impressed with the journey and overall experience? If not, change it today.