As COVID-19 continues to disrupt global markets in unprecedented ways, governments continue to turn to the proven public wellbeing measures to contain the contagion.
Across the Globe, we are getting roughly 13,000 new cases a day and it’s growing fast? A COVID-19 vaccine is still far from fruition.
Accordingly, most governments that are dealing with growing infection rates of their populations are turning to social distancing and quarantines as the most pragmatic remedy.
Covid-19 has a huge impact on economies and all the businesses around the globe. Eventually, COVID-19 is impacting sales & marketing on thorough basis.
We got together with us 12 Marketing Experts who share their best views on “What is the Impact of COVID19 on Marketing and How Brands and Marketers are opting for various online marketing methods to engage with their audience”
Rather than devolving into panic and becoming defensive, I think this is the perfect time for reaching out to others in the spirit of contribution. As many brace for a prolonged period of working from home or sheltering in place to wait out the virus, I think it’s important that we take this opportunity of spending more time at home to focus on some of the things we’ve been too busy to pay attention to up until now. I suggest using this down time to re-establish old relationships, both business and personal… and show people that for you it’s People before Profits.
Help Your Business Community… think of ways you can contribute your service to help others. How can you add value to your customers’ lives right now? Not by pitching them stuff at a discount, that’s for sure. In this time of business and personal crisis, we should all be pulling together to help each other through the uncertainty—not running ads for selling stuff that no one is even thinking about right now. Four things come to mind that every business person should be doing right now:
a) Call your current and past customers and just see how they’re doing. Make it personal. Offer to share something with them that could be of value to them at this time… an article, a recipe or a video post with helpful information they could use on the best ways to take care of themselves and loved ones right now.
b) Connect with them on Facebook or Instagram and schedule time to seek opportunities to engage with them there. This is a perfect opportunity to work on growing your social network that you may not have had time for before… creating and sharing valuable content, commenting and engaging with others, sharing valuable content. Come from a place of contribution here—create and/or share content that is meaningful to their lives at this moment of crisis. Be engaging, share funny content or uplifting posts about others, don’t be afraid to share your opinion in a professional manner, and like and/or comment on their posts. People always remember how you made them feel. Remember, your brand/business is what you do; your reputation is what people “will” remember and share. Be in the mode of building that reputation as a human being.
c) Our restaurants, pubs and hospitality businesses are particularly hard hit. If you have the means to do so, support them by either ordering takeout or buying gift certificates. In fact, buying takeout could also be a way of helping those elderly neighbors we talked about earlier. Brainstorm with your business partners, colleagues and vendors on ways to pool resources to help as well.
d) At Photofy we are doing all we can to Support our Clients and the Small Business Owners Community. As we all come to grips with the impact of COVID-19, we are exploring ways to adapt our businesses to the evolving economic reality. In an effort to support everyone we can, Photofy is offering our help with communication and content creation needs – which are critical in this current business and health crisis environment. Our small business package offers a robust variety of graphic templates, designs, overlays, and tools for making branded content from your mobile device (including personal and emotional healthcare related content). EVEN BETTER, “you” can add your branding (logos, icons, etc.) and share across many digital platforms.
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Like many of you, we are a start-up growing business as well, so we understand how the current situation can have a negative impact. We hope this small contribution helps in some way. We are all in this together, so let us know how we can support YOU.
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The bottom line is that we can and should take charge of how we react to what’s happening around us that is beyond our control. And the best way to do that is to concentrate on building positive relationships with as many people as possible starting with those closest to you and radiating out from there. Getting back into relationship building is what makes us human and helps all of us deal with crisis. We’re in this together, so let’s concentrate on finding more ways to help each other cope and come out on the other side of this as stronger human beings with stronger relationships. #RonR #WeAreInThisTogether #BeGoodToPeople… #NoLetUp
Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Speaker, Author, Provocateur, CMO of Photofy, and a member of various Advisory Boards. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. His books: Return on Relationship 2013, How to Look People in the Eye Digitally 2015, The Age of Influence 2017. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn .
In the B2B world, you can’t underestimate the impact your products and services can have on other businesses. If your message has always been that your product/service makes businesses stronger, then that message is even more relevant in these troubled times when more and more companies need your help. Trust is always the most significant barrier to making sales – and as people tighten their spending, that is becoming more evident. Everyone’s inboxes are flooded with COVID-19 fear-based sales tactics, and I think the market is already sick of it (and it erodes trust). Certainly, that’s the feedback I’m getting from my network.
Despite these unique and uncertain times, the pillars of effective social selling and communication still get results. It will continue to come down to the know, like, and trust factor – regardless of the platform businesses use to communicate with their audience.
So, my advice is…
Be trustworthy and overdeliver.
And, given the climate, be extremely empathetic. The business people in my network who are still generating sales are those who give first, offer help generously (givers get) and build trust. There was hesitation among many marketers and business owners – myself included for a brief period – about whether it was insensitive to market right now. But the fact of the matter is this… Anyone who has a high-quality product or service that can solve a problem or potentially save a business should let people know about it.
Melonie Dodaro is a preeminent authority on social selling on LinkedIn and the author of the #1 bestselling book LinkedIn Unlocked. She is also the CEO of Top Dog Social Media , a company specializing in B2B social selling on LinkedIn. Melonie’s superpower is creating strategies that turn cold connections into clients.
Most ad campaigns can come across as tone-deaf right now, during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. So, instead of trying to sell your product with direct ads, focus instead on a content marketing strategy that doesn’t try to sell your product, but rather provides value to your target audience. Value, right now, might be something as simple as giving them good news or a reason to smile.
Take what John Krasinski did. He’s the actor from “The Office”, “Jack Ryan,” and “A Quiet Place”, among others. He launched a Youtube channel called “Some Good News” which is a simple news-anchor style show that features John presenting feel-good stories collected from his social media audience.
On the day the first episode went up, it rocketed to the #1 trending video on Youtube and had over 6 million views in less than 24 hours. Provide value through your content like John did!
Content marketing can include blogging on your website (which boosts SEO), publishing videos to Youtube, publishing infographics, or even creating a podcast.
Now is also the time to engage with your audience on social media. Participate in trending hashtags, but not with salesly pitches; instead, focus again on adding value to the conversation. You can build top-of-the-funnel awareness this way, without risking criticism for a lack of empathy during this trying time.
During this crisis, a lot of people are going to places like Quora.com to ask questions. Check it out and answer questions on which you have expertise. Doing so will establish your personal brand, as well as your brand authority. Quora also has great potential for driving referral traffic to your website, since your answers can include a link to your website or relevant blog post. Quora ranks very well in search results much of the time, so use it to your advantage!
Another tactic to gain press, inbound links, and awareness is to participate in HARO (helpareporter.com). HARO is a place where journalists go to find expert sources for stories they’re working on. You submit pitches for available stories, and if you’re lucky, the reporter will include your pitch in their published work. This is often accompanied by a mention of your company name and a link to your website, which can boost your credibility, awareness, and SEO.
PredictHQ published data indicating that in February alone, concerns about the coronavirus lead to a 500% surge in cancellations and postponements of significant events. During this time when many of us are working from home and forced to socially distance ourselves into isolation, now is the time for to make time to review and define an online marketing strategy to and craft marketing messages to stand out. This provides the perfect time for Marketers to focus on improvements to a digital and social media strategy and gain a competitive edge over those who maybe slower to react. This too shall pass, and it’s a time to focus and plan to emerge as a leader to stand out and succeed into the second (hopefully better) half of 2020.
Marissa Pick is the founder of Marissa Pick Consulting LLC. where she provides strategic consulting focused around Digital Transformation, Content Marketing, Social Media Strategy, Personal Branding and more.
Prior to founding her own business, she was the global director of social media and digital marketing at the CFA Institute where she oversaw efforts to reach journalists, legislators, policymakers, and investment professionals who play essential roles in shaping the direction of the financial services industry.
Marissa holds a Master of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she graduated with Pi Alpha Alpha Honors. She received her B.A. in American Studies from Brandeis University where she was a starter on the Brandeis University softball team. Visit her blog marissapick.com. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
For my ventures, Mi6 Agency and Silicon Halton, all of our customer and member engagement is taking place online. Prior to the pandemic group engagement was done face to face via Meetup.com and Eventbrite. Now all peer to peer groups sessions and meetups are being done online. What we’re focusing on though is getting people to join in on group conversations as opposed to webinar style formats. People want to talk and connect and not be spoken at. For our paid clients, we’re making sure we are hyper responsive to their calls, emails and questions as we help them stick handle and market themselves through this crisis.
More broadly speaking what B2B marketers choose to do online is predicated on what the objectives of their business are. Some may thrive in situations like this which creates challenges related to higher workload, competing family and work priorities and stress. For marketers whose businesses are being negatively impacted now, they need to find ways to market the company, and maybe themselves, in case they find themselves out of a job.
But, in either case the marketer needs to continue to market the company thoughtfully and intentionally. Marketing activities at any time should factor the four Rs of B2B marketing: Return, Relationship, Reputation and Relevance. Is the activity you’re doing going to generate a return, will it create or further develop relationships with target audiences? Does the marketing activity help build your reputation in the markets you serve? And, finally, is the marketing you’re doing relevant to the current situation, your market and your business and customers?
In addition, B2B marketers need to use this time and the uncertainty it brings, to build their networks, build relationships and their skills. But most importantly stay healthy, happy and safe.
Chris Herbert is the founder and Managing Partner of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing agency offering marketing programs and value exchange networks helping companies connect with new customers and keep existing ones. He is the co-founder of the tech community Silicon Halton. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn
Sales Hacker is a media company, which means our content is our product. There, my biggest challenge is to produce content that is timely and relevant. Right now, I’m scrambling to produce high-quality content that helps our audience adjust to the changes we’re facing and succeed in spite of them. It’s a fine balance, though. I want to open and honest about the crisis we’re facing, but I want to stay positive.
My agency, like many others, will suffer. Many brands are slashing spending on anything they don’t deem essential, and sadly, since content is top of the funnel, it’s one of the line items they’re cutting.
I just launched a new brand at Vivacitie.com. This is a passion project that I’ve been working on the last few months, and at first, I was nervous about how COVID-19 would affect it. The messaging is right, but so many people are out of work, they’re unable to spend money on courses that don’t equip them to generate income.
That said, steep discounting is not the right move for any brand, especially a new one. That only teaches people to expect low prices on your products — forever. Because of that, I’m focusing on building brand recognition and trust. I’ll probably go ahead with my plans to release a course, but I’ll wait until things settle down. Right now, I’m focusing on producing content that inspires and encourages people, equipping them to handle whatever crises they’re facing.
For everyone in marketing, the tactics that worked just a few months ago, probably aren’t working. We need to pause and take some time to think about our audience. How does the pandemic affect them? What does their new normal look like? What are they struggling with?
Then we need to create content that helps them feel they aren’t in this alone, that we’ve got their backs. We don’t need to send an email that tells them how you’re handling the coronavirus, unless of course, it affects them personally. We also don’t need to suddenly stop making offers.
We might need to shift gears and radically change what we offer or change who we offer it to. For instance, if you run a restaurant, consider creating a cookbook and put together a course that teaches people how to recreate a few of your menu items.
Any marketing needs to meet people where they are. Right now, people are feeling anxious. They’re learning new ways to live their lives. They’re also afraid of the future. If we find ways to help them adjust or feel more confident, we’ll succeed. Otherwise, we’ll simply add to the noise and confusion.
Kathryn Aragon is a content strategist, success maven, and author. She is the head of content at Sales Hacker and the founder of Vivacitie.com. She’s best known for her work running industry-leading blogs and writing engaging content. What most people don’t realize is that she built a six-figure business from bed. Today, you’d never know she has a spinal cord injury. Follow her to learn how to overcome and succeed against all odds. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
One of the biggest impacts of Covid-19 is that is forcing a larger amount of people to be at their computer more than they previously were. Since there are so many having to work remote, the odds are that the majority of their time will be spent at a computer.
This provides a unique opportunity for online marketing in that you know more people are going to be on a device during this time.
And with the increased time online, businesses have a better opportunity to reach their audience through paid ads. Depending on your industry, it might make sense to increase your spend and efforts to reach more of these people than you previously would have. Just be sure your messaging resonates and that you have a plan in place to nurture and/or follow up with the lead.
For others, you might need to be sensitive of your audience if they are being hit hard by this change. Instead, you might find it makes more sense to put more effort into reaching out to your current customer base and let them know you can help them through this time. If anything, many will appreciate you checking in on them.
Like all of my peers, the emergence of COVID-19 has meant that our team has pivoted all marketing plans for the foreseeable future to an entirely digital experience.
Step one was reviewing our marketing budget to assess existing plans for field, direct mail and digital. We needed to know what was planned, committed, and already spent, as well as what we could recoup, in order to come up with our new program plans.
A critical pivot we made was digitizing our direct mail program. We leveraged Vidyard to showcase the direct mail package virtually since sending it to them in person is almost impossible with everyone working from home. The video was accompanied by an email and call sequence, digital advertising and marketing nurturing with applicable content and webinars over a few weeks. Pending engagement and qualification for the incentive gift, we offered prospects the option of a 1 time send to their home with their gift, or they can receive the gift on their desk when they’re back in the office. We use PFL for direct mail sends. We also pivoted to e-gifts where possible.
Another pivot was changing our customer user groups to online forums with a short presentation on how marketers can manage their new reality, followed by a guided discussion to encourage peer-sharing and learning. While we can’t physically be with our customers, there’s still so much value to be had in hearing the work their peers are doing to navigate the current challenges – the channel they’re getting the information through is secondary.
As we look to building out more digital programs, our key focus is relevancy. It’s imperative that we are offering value and speaking directly to our prospects about the real pains they’re experiencing TODAY. Those companies who pay extra attention to hyper-personalization and practical value will rise above the rest as digital saturation sets in.
Brona O’Connor is the Director of Demand Generation at Allocadia, the leader in Marketing Performance Management software. With 10 years marketing experience and an aptitude for business development and sales, Brona has been instrumental in leading ABM strategy, GTM operations and scaling revenue programs to drive pipeline. Brona is passionate about creating demand and leveraging data and smart metrics to make smart marketing investment decisions. Originally from Ireland, Brona began her marketing career in event management before spending a number of years managing global marketing programs for leading law and investment management firms. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.
Initially, we looked to provide feedback on the impact of COVID-19 on business travel by offering insights into which events were being canceled and how hotels and airlines were dealing with the disruption. Then, it moved into helping our customers’ travel managers understand how Lola.com would handle the refunds for cancellations and what policies made sense in this moving environment.
Jeanne is the former Chief Marketing Officer at Lola.com, leading the company’s marketing organization as well as customer success. She was Executive Vice President and CMO at Ipswitch and held executive marketing roles at HubSpot, Symmetricom (now Microsemi), SmartBear, MarketingSherpa, and Continuum (now ConnectWise). At HubSpot, Jeanne’s leadership helped the company land on the number two spot on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies by generating 50,000 net new leads per month. An accomplished writer, advisor and speaker, Jeanne serves on the Advisory Boards of Coffee Cup Collective and Sales Lead Management Association, and Co-Chair of the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Group. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
In the short-term, the smart play is to do something as a brand to help or at least recognize those who are helping, even if just thanking consumers for working together to get through this. Brands who are still product-centric in a time of crisis are tone deaf and likely to lose marketshare and affinity with consumers. But long-term planning for the exit from this quarantine state and then rebuilding momentum for when the world turns back to normal is an imperative behind the scenes.
Due to Covid-19, marketing budgets and experiments are being cut across all industries and businesses. It leads to very low competition on paid media platforms and decreases the cost per click on Facebook and Google Ads. With more people being online now than ever you can reach the same prospects 4 -5 times cheaper and it’s a perfect opportunity to get them into your marketing funnel, remarketing and email marketing list and target them later when economic situation will improve. Companies need to realize that if they want to survive they need to take advantage of this historic low cost per click to improve their brand awareness and get more calls and leads.
Mike Khorev is a digital marketing and SEO expert who helps SaaS, Software, IT, Technology, B2B and enterprise companies generate more leads and sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, web design, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
In this unprecedented time we have to adapt our messaging – this is critical if you want to connect with your audience. Instead of future-pacing and thinking about where they want to be 5 years from now, your audience is thinking about how they can survive right now. So your messaging, and what you’re offering to help them solve their pain right now, has to change.
Kate Erickson is the engine at Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are truly ON FIRE. She is also the host of the podcast Ditch Busy and co-author of The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days. Learn more about the free training Kate & John have created for entrepreneurs who are ready to achieve financial and lifestyle freedom over at EOFire.com! You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter .