Everyone is talking about the coronavirus. The unfortunate truth is that it is spreading at an incredibly fast rate, and could continue for some time. There are over 250,000 currently confirmed cases, and the number is growing exponentially. It’s impossible to tell how far it will go, but the pandemic has already sparked fears of a global economic recession and caused global stock markets to plummet. This means everyone, even in the countries that haven’t recorded infections yet, will be affected.
Implications for business
First, its likely people are going to try and capitalize on the situation through fear. While supplies for essential products such as facemasks and sanitizer dwindle, some will purchase and resell them at 5 or 10 times the actual price. It isn’t entrepreneurship, and it’s not an honourable thing to do. It isn’t just morally wrong; it’s also near-sighted. Fine, you could earn some quick cash, but it certainly won’t last. You’ll fare better by investing your efforts in a long-term strategy.
Now that that’s out of the way, what does the coronavirus pandemic mean for your business?
It’s going to get difficult if it hasn’t already. Even if the pandemic subsides as quickly as observed in China, it’s going to be a while before businesses recover from all the losses sustained during the quarantine periods. For instance, the virus caused retail sales to decline by over 20%, and the country’s unemployment rate rose past 6% in February this year.
Companies like Apple have closed their stores to fight the spread, and this implies reduced income and profitability. While they’ll undoubtedly pay their employees’ salaries during the lockdown, not all companies can afford to follow this example. Taking an example from the travel industry, the virus is expected to cost about $800 billion. It’s so bad that some airlines have asked their staff to take unpaid leave.
Digital marketing tips to keep your business afloat
Take steps to retain your existing customer base. Out of sight often implies that you’re out of mind. You need to maintain contact with your customers or risk losing them entirely. It’s always better to keep a current customer than it is to get a new one.
You could do this through marketing automation. It’s arguably the most cost-effective and convenient way to stay in touch with your customers. Remember, not to confuse it with automated email marketing or cold calling. You need to send a personal, contextually relevant, and specific message to existing customers interested in what you have to say. You need to maintain some form of contact with your audience at all the points where they could interact with your brands such as social media and search engine results. Regularly doing this will ensure your audience remains engaged and loyal.
It should be a prominent part of your digital marketing campaigns if you want to retain your existing customers. You could share current developments within your industry or show your customers what distinguishes your products from the alternatives offered by your rivals.
Interact more with your audiences. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook are the places where your customers are discussing your products and services, evaluating purchasing decisions, or exchanging their opinions of your business. Create a cost-efficient plan to reach your customers at all points of the social media funnel. Listening to their interests will give you more insight into your industry and help you create more targeted advertising.
Improve your visibility in front of prospective customers.
You need to invest more in developing brand awareness and gaining greater visibility. Doing so will drive more visitors to your website and keep them engaged with your brand. The mere exposure effect is a marketing phenomenon in which consumers develop a liking for your services or products simply because they are familiar with them. In times like these, it may prove incredibly vital for your business. You should seek out and implement low-cost techniques that will keep your brand visible in the eyes of potential clients. Marketing your business right now may seem impractical, but it will earn you long term benefits.
There are also several ideas you could try if you don’t have the resources to run an advertising campaign. Facebook plans to invest 100 million dollars’ worth of grants and free ad credits in about 30,000 businesses in the countries where it operates. The move is intended to help enterprises to remain functional as more customers choose to self-isolate. The aid will also help with rent costs and other related expenses. The company hasn’t started taking applications yet but invites all interested businesses to sign up for updates. Facebook has also allowed free access to its business hub. The platform offers practical advice on how to manage the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Update existing content.
If you run a blog, then it’s likely your business has a trove of eternally relevant, engaging content that customers will find useful. Revise this content, refine it to improve your rankings in search engine results pages.
Optimize your conversions.
Conversion rate optimization is an incredibly effective but cost-efficient way to maximize profit. It involves making gradual changes to the content and layout of your website that encourage visitors to take a specific action.
You can optimize your conversions by doing the following
Share positive stories and social proof of the quality of your business. You may post case studies, reviews, recommendations, at each touchpoint in your marketing plan.
Improve the customer experience. Put more work into your website to ensure you give your users a smooth, enjoyable experience. Since health care specialists have advised people to avoid in-person interaction, it’s more likely that their first experience with your brand will come from your website. You’ll want to make the best impression so you can turn them into regular customers.
Evaluate your performance.
If you don’t evaluate, then you can’t improve. And if you aren’t improving, then it’s likely you’ll be wasting money. Evaluation requires that your account for all the money spent as part of your marketing efforts. You need to compare this to your goals. These are usually specific targets with regards to sales, leads, referrals and upsells.
You should also refine your key performance indicators by reviewing Google analytics. Ensure you’ve covered all the essentials metrics and that you use the data generated to improve marketing efficiency.
Measure returns on investment from social media.
When resources run scarce, as they are bound to in the wake of the coronavirus, it’s often necessary to make some hard choices. For some, this may involve putting a break to social media activity. Social media may seem non-essential at times, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon it altogether. Before you make the decision, you should evaluate how much it has contributed to your business in terms of visibility and engagement, not just profit.
The advice shared in this post will undoubtedly help cushion your enterprise against the ill effects of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, if you still need help, there are several professional digital marketing agencies in Uganda you could consult.