As a growing number of states issue shelter in place orders, it makes sense for brands to give customers regular updates on practical matters or any changes to operations at this time. Brands should be communicating about health and safety protocols, the availability of delivery and essential services, online ordering, curbside pickup, online consultations and more. As they provide helpful information, these companies make the impression they are reliable, safe, sanitary and ethical — attributes customers really appreciate right now.
Brands need to be careful with messaging. They don’t need to seem like they are downplaying COVID-19 or attempting to profit on it callously. To pivot successfully, businesses should remain sensitive to the situation and provide helpful service options and communications that work well with social distancing. Make sure that you clearly communicate how you are taking precautions at this time to keep your employees and your customers safe. In addition to new challenges, social distancing has driven new emerging trends as well.
Rising Search Trends & Changing Consumer Behaviors:
- Curbside pickup, food delivery, to-go orders, no contact delivery are all on the rise.
- More searches related to essential businesses and necessities (fear of hoarding)
- More demand for online consultations, online ordering, and personal shoppers
- Free or reduced shipping and fast delivery options from eCommerce sites are key
- A spike in interest for toys, games, and educational materials while students are out of schools
- Streaming services are getting more traffic – music, video, podcasts, gaming, you name it. If it is streaming it is booming right now.
- Content is King – with more people stuck indoors they are consuming digital media more than ever and are also spending more time on social media sites.
- Home improvement projects, entertainment, arts & crafts all have greater demand while people try to fill more free time spent at home
Strategies to Help Businesses Survive and Adapt During COVID-19:
- Creativity & Courage are Crucial: To overcome new challenge businesses need to be both creative and courageous. New ideas should be encouraged. Get your workforce involved in solving the problems at hand. Mobilize your people and motivate them to help. They would rather help you find a solution than be layed off. Leadership needs to remain united and as positive as possible to provide strength during uncertain times.
- Connect with Customers: Maintaining customer relationships is more important than ever. Make sure you keep those connections strong as this situation continues to unfold. Use email marketing and social media to engage in conversations with your customers. Make sure you have a clear content strategy.
- Make Sure Your Online Presence Is On Point: Online activity is at an all time high. It is critical to make sure your online presence is highly visible right now. While some are considering cutting back, many analysts agree that now is a prime time to focus budgets on digital marketing. People aren’t driving past your bill boards as often while sheltering in place, but they are surfing the internet more. Within any crisis, there are opportunities and those that pause all of their paid efforts will be left behind once things start getting back to normal again.
- Optimize Google My Business & Local Listings: Local searches for essential services, food to go, and more are on the rise. Make sure your local business listings and map locations are updated and optimized.
- Consider Virtual Events & Teleconferencing: There is a new need for creating more face -time with your customers. At this point, it is essential for businesses to take advantage of this time to set up more digital options for communications.
- Video Marketing Can Build Engagement With Your Audience: Video can be a major force for driving awareness while people are away from brick and mortar locations. Demos and product features should be part of your content mix.
- Online Reviews Will Matter More Than Ever: With more people online you will be seen side by side with your competitors in results. Make sure you are soliciting more reviews to build your brand trust with your audience.
- Adapt When Possible & Ask for Help if You Need It: As we continue this ride with COVID-19, businesses must become more adaptable and more humble. This is a challenge for us all. But, no one should hold themselves back for fear of change or fear of asking for help. Lots of resources are available to help with financing during this crisis, like SBA loans and stimulus packages. Consider changes with an open mind and seek partnerships to solve complex challenges.
Starnes Digital is here to help you succeed amid all of the uncertainty.
Our team will review your business and analyze your marketing challenges and opportunities to create a dynamic plan and strategic response
to help you maintain business and position yourself for a stronger bounce-back.