This blog post is an excerpt from the e-book, Business As Usual: Marketing Online Post COVID by Franchise Ramp Head of Product Delivery, Kevin Moses. To purchase the entire book, click here.
Face masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing — these are things that we are all overly familiar with these days. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has surely left its mark on the world and will continue to do so until we find a way to cure it. The pandemic has created some dynamic changes from the way we dress to the way we live. In one of the rarest occasions in modern history, the world’s population has been forced to spend the majority of the year inside their homes, and by the looks of it, large gatherings would not see the light of the day for some time.
As the coronavirus relentlessly takes on the world, the global pandemic that ensued and its effects continue to ripple to different sectors of society. It goes without saying that most businesses have had a rough past few months. Due to the pandemic, several industries adapted by switching to work-from-home and remote setups.
Of course, working remotely poses a lot of problems for industries and companies that rely on face to face interaction. Despite the difficulties brought about by these setups, some industries have actually been able to thrive. We have all seen the recent trend of, more and more small businesses, many of which are based in food and hospitality, have unfortunately had to close their doors in a desperate attempt to save themselves from bankruptcy. It is not uncommon in these trying times to see a farewell email from one of the beloved services you’re subscribing to. Construction and travel companies have been gasping for air as well, with large corporations such as Delta Airlines experiencing more than $60 million in losses every day. Be advised, these organizations would not last long and would not grow as big as they are now if they were easily toppled.
Starting a business was never easy and keeping the ship steady is definitely not a walk in the park. These are ideas that entrepreneurs are well aware of. Where the world would see pandemic, entrepreneurs should see an opportunity. When a global crisis struck the world more than a century ago, a budding tycoon saw a golden chance to turn a “glorified boarding house” to a hotel empire. That man was Hilton Hotels’ legendary Conrad Hilton,
and that global crisis was the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Straight from the history books, Hilton’s story resonates with a lot of business owners.
A large number of entrepreneurs are struggling right now because of the distinction between non-essential and essential businesses. In the first two weeks of March, when the outbreak was beginning the stages of becoming a pandemic, a lot of government bodies around the world ordered “non-essential” businesses to be closed. These “non-essential” businesses included bars, restaurants, sports arenas, and basically any place where people could form a group of more than three people.
As more and more companies began to hang out that “closed” sign, the streets slowly faded into silence. Simultaneously the volume of the web began to turn up. Digital additions to a business were already at an all-time high before the virus broke out. Restaurants started accepting online orders, companies began holding webinars, media outlets transitioned to
dominate social media, and digital strategy became a requirement for businesses to stay relevant — then came the ultimate field test.
A competition of relevance in a generation-shifting market suddenly became a fight for survival in a pandemic-struck economy. From implementing eCommerce efforts to holding virtual meetings, business owners had to get creative because complacency was not an option. Although sales would not be as strong as pre epidemic it was better than trying to wait out COVID. Businesses stayed “essential” by going where the people went, and that is online.
Adjust Your Strategies
As we grapple with the pandemic and the continuation of quarantine and isolation, not only have online activities increased, but online sales have soared as well. What does this tell you? This means people have more time & money to kill. People are learning new skills online, using social media platforms to communicate with the outside world, and online shopping is the new retail therapy.
The best way to understand the habits and behavior of people is by gathering data. There are a lot of reliable sources on the internet regarding changes in behavior. You can also strike a conversation with your customers and ask them about their customer experience.
And from there, you can strategize on what kind of approach to use.
Understanding your consumers and potential leads is one thing while adjusting your marketing tactics is another. The pandemic had a huge impact on the average consumer’s available spending budgets and the marketing strategies that you drafted before the COVID-19 crisis happened may not be as effective anymore. My thoughts are that A “new normal” should be met with “new marketing strategies.”
After analyzing consumer behavior, you have to reassess your strategies and adjust accordingly. People are going to adapt to the new normal and so must your brand. Reflect on how your audience sees your brand during the crisis, and try to adjust your ad campaign message in that direction. It is also important to find and set the right tone for your brand.
Utilizing Paid Ads
Adjusting your strategies also means adjusting the budget. It’s time to redistribute the funds allocated for business trips, face-to-face events, trade shows, sponsorships, etc. Focus more on content creation for your online platforms. Changing strategies is challenging, but you have to embrace change because you won’t move forward if you don’t. You can’t wait for the pandemic to be over for you to start making changes because you will be left behind if you do.
Paid ads have become noticeably cheaper now because of the pandemic. In a market slowly being dominated by digital strategy, the relevance of online ads cannot be underestimated. In fact, any digital marketing strategy should have a large chunk of its budget allocated to fund paid advertisement campaigns. Paid ads hold so much potential which is why it is surprising to see the demand for them go down. Ad spaces are often acquired by business through an auction system or “bidding”. In addition to that, ad networks rely on both big and small businesses to make their system work.
Small businesses, due to their volume, steadily increase the cost per click (CPC) of ads, which then causes larger corporations to spend more. It is already established that the pandemic has affected a large amount of small to medium enterprises and has caused many of these businesses to close down. To add to that, a portion of large corporations have been preoccupied with the effects of the pandemic, and marketing through paid ads has been the least of their concerns. As a result, CPC for ads has stagnated and surviving businesses reap the benefits and live to fight another day.
According to marketing guru Neil Patel, Before the lockdown, the ROI of Paid Ads were at an average of 31%. Since people are spending extra hours online now, the ROI rate has gone up to 53%. With that said, if your business needs paid ads right now and you can pay for them, this is absolutely the best time to do it.