Digital Marketing During COVID-19 Disruption – A Guide For Business
Neil Walter is the founder of Walter Analytics and GrowScore. Walter Analytics is a digital consultancy that helps clients optimise marketing campaigns and improve understanding of results, we’ve been operating since 2012 and have worked with over 40 clients. GrowScore is an integrated platform to track your digital marketing performance that links to Google Analytics and helps you identify opportunities for growth from your website and digital marketing.
I’ve had multiple discussions with clients this week about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, and how to adjust digital marketing campaigns in response to it. I thought I’d write this quick summary to a wider audience as I’m sure this issue is on the minds of many people responsible for digital marketing. With pending lockdowns in many cities, and things bound to get worse before they get better, I hope the following pointers can help you make effective decisions.
- Should we stop our digital marketing and only enable campaigns once things are back to normal?
Most of the digital advertising that we manage is SEM (Google Ads), so I’ll give a response based on that perspective and some suggestions for opportunities. Firstly, if you’re advertising a product/service that requires customers to be in person in the near future (1-6 weeks), then you should definitely monitor and look to reduce the spend or turn it off completely in the short term. You’ll likely see your conversion rates go down, and while the cost per click may get cheaper (less competition), it generally takes some time for the algorithms to catch up and lower your bids, so it may be prudent to ensure you’re not bidding too much for a lower amount of customers than usual. We haven’t completely turned off ads yet for any clients, we’re closely monitoring conversion rates and cost per lead, and seeing how much it changes over the coming weeks.
On the flip side, our clients in Health are obviously seeing a large increase, and several eCommerce clients are also doing close to normal numbers.
The thing to be mindful of is when lockdown measures are relaxed in a few months, there will be a large rebound of business, with plenty of prospects wanting solutions. See the answer to Question 3 for tactics to capitalise on that during the slowdown. You don’t want to be out of the market when it rebounds, so it’s probably worth having a small amount of campaigns running or be proactive about measuring demand on a weekly basis so you can jump in once consumer sentiment rebounds.
2. What digital marketing tactics can we utilise to capitalise on this?
I think all businesses should be ensuring they have re-targeting plans in place with lists of existing customers and be ready to release offers once business can re-bound. Re-targeting are ads (content, display or otherwise) that are served to existing customers, fans of your social media accounts, previous visitors to your website etc. Re-targeting is important to keep the business top of mind to customers, even if you can’t engage in an active sale right now. Once business resumes as usual, customers will be looking to engage, and businesses that have done a good job of engaging in the quieter period are more likely to get those first and followup sales.
You can do re-targeting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, through the Google Display network, and through native content etc.
You can also look to do active email marketing and have campaigns planned and ready to go once normality resumes. Consider gift card offers at this time to boost cash-flow in the short term.
Use this time to plan out and create your offers and campaigns for the future, so you can hit go and not be scrambling later when demand picks up. Mobilise your digital marketing and sales teams to focus on this new product development while they can get out of the “operational weeds” for a while.
3. How can I improve my website and automation systems for when customers come back?
Now is a great time for planning and setting up new initiatives. Specifically, I think it’s important that you focus on website optimisation and improving your sales funnel process.
This will probably include a combination of:
- Conversion rate optimisation – which involves A/B testing and other tactics to improve the conversion rate on your website landing pages and different stages of the sales funnel
- Setting up automation triggers to connect your different back-end systems such as your sales CRM with your lead forms
- Up-skilling your team with new digital marketing skills more relevant in 2020 and beyond
- Look into upgrades to your website and back-end functionality, including your landing pages, lead forms etc.
This is very important because when the rebound happens, if you’re in a better position to get more leads and revenue, you’ll benefit much more. Now is the perfect time to work on your systems and improve your website for the rebound later this year.
Walter Analytics works in all aspects of website optimisation and automation, and we are a partner of Emporium Digital that builds websites and digital solutions if you are interested in discussing a solution with me personally.
4. Our whole team is preparing to work from home, how do you do it?
We do have a physical office in Melbourne, but we’re often working remotely by choice. This is the tech stack that we have used for online collaboration & communication for the past several years:
Communication – Slack (Normal text chat, integrates with other systems for notifications, occasional calls) & Zoom (Video call meetings, screen-share etc.).
Alternative: Skype – especially if you’re integrated into the Office 365 stack.
Project Management – Basecamp (List based) & JIRA (Sprints & technical planning)
Alternative: Asana, Trello, Monday.com + 100s of others.
We also ensure all team members have monitors, and an appropriate workstation setup to boost productivity when working remotely.
The great news is that the tens of thousands of companies that can help you during this time are also working remotely. For digital native companies such as digital agencies, web development, digital consulting etc – remote work is fairly standard with team members normally across countries and time zones.
If you want to kick-off a project in this time to improve your online business, now is the perfect time to reach out and book in a call and get moving!
If you want to chat to me about your business, please get in touch via our website: www.walteranalytics.com or send me a contact request on LinkedIn!
Thank you for reading and good luck in the coming weeks & months!