How Can Digital Marketing Make an Impact During the Coronavirus Crisis?

April 15, 2020 Liezel Stephanie Lawagan
digital marketing coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues its rampage around the world, whole populations are transforming in more ways than one. Given that public safety is the current top concern, the most obvious change is that more people are staying at home. And with that comes huge shifts in behavioral trends.

All of us have shifted to protection mode and adjusted our lifestyles accordingly. We’ve turned to remote working arrangements, online classes, live-streamed workouts, and the like. We’ve also returned to broadcast TV and other premium media sources for immediate and credible information and updates. And when it comes to distractions and entertainment, we’ve increased our use of social media more than ever in addition to gaming apps, streaming services, and much more. Basically, at this point, we’re all living our lives online.

With all this sudden change, many industries are taking a massive downturn. Even the digital marketing industry—which is so used to the constant behavioral shifts—is taking a hit. But that isn’t to say it can’t pick back up just as quickly. In fact, it may even give the industry a boost. After all, though some of these behavioral changes may be temporary, plenty may become more permanent. And with more people staying inside and on their phones and computers, digital marketing may be a brand’s best chance to survive at this time. But, how exactly can brands use digital marketing to make an impact during this time of crisis?

Digital Marketing In The Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis

With people being more dependent on the digital world, brands should think long and hard about digital transformation. If you’re in the same boat, you should seriously think about investing in your digital strategies and online ads. Aside from those, here are some ways you can get ahead on your digital marketing and make it work for during this coronavirus crisis.

1. Communicate with Empathy

These are hard times. People feel vulnerable, and empathy in your brand voice is more critical than ever. Using coronavirus to be commercially exploitative will not fare well for you. Instead, recognize the hardships of your customers. And lean into more messages of hope and well-being. Also, remember that if you do make any pledges, make sure you can deliver on them.

2. Modify Your Messages

In times like these, adapting future outputs to the situation isn’t enough. It is important to modify even your present and ongoing campaigns or strategies to accommodate present circumstances. Nike, for example, adopted the message “Play inside, play for the world.” Many other brands also adopted messages promoting social distancing and staying at home. In addition to content, you should also consider where you place that content now that consumers are engaging in more platforms. Maybe it’s time to modify your media mix as well.

3. Focus on Transparency

As more consumers are turning to online purchases, an emerging responsibility for most e-commerce brands is to develop transparent messaging. This means providing simple but detailed product descriptions and accurate photos and videos to help your customers get a clear picture of your products in real life. On the other hand, from a logistics standpoint, you should be upfront about any shortages, delays, or updates on your products and shipments. These are frustrating situations for customers. But, they’d surely appreciate the honesty rather than the added stress of your silence.

4. Keep on Top of Updates

Aside from transparency, keeping your audiences in the loop is a great way to keep your brand afloat. This is where the fast-paced nature of digital marketing really comes in handy. As new developments on the virus emerge, it’s important for you to keep pace. By keeping on top of updates, you can act fast in the face of mitigating losses, updating or stopping campaigns, and such. It also helps you keep your audiences in the loop so that both of you are on the same page when things such as cancellations and refunds happen. Providing accurate information about the pandemic and its effects on your operations also deepens existing connections and builds long-term trust.

5. Do Good

One thing brands should remember is that this is not a time for commercial gain. Although staying afloat is important, there is also a social responsibility that you should uphold. Remember, people take note of brands that do good in times like these. So, if it’s within your capacity, chip in. It could be in the form of donations of food or medical supplies. It could also be using your brand’s services for the benefit of the community. Actions like these goes a long way to enhance your brand. But, remember, it only works when it’s done with sincerity, authenticity, and heart. Consumers can see straight through actions with underlying motives.

6. Track Trends and Build Scenarios

Not keeping your sights off your customers’ behavioral changes will help you gain better insights in real-time. Closely observing conversations on the different social media platforms and building different scenarios closely with your team members can also help you greatly. With these, you can adapt your messaging better and quicker, you can identify any looming crisis, and you can also spot coming opportunities.

7. Think for the After and Beyond

One day, the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably come to an end. And it is important that you plan for life after the crisis. The good news is that current behaviors may have lasting effects so you can lean into your current digital transformation. Some things you should remember though is to understand the impacts of this dip in business and to mitigate future risks by thinking from the outside-in. If there’s one thing for certain in these uncertain times, it’s that major changes will follow even in the life after. So, it’s important to plan your comeback tactics now while continuing to face the current situation with humility and confidence.

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