The importance of digital marketing in a global pandemic.

Posted 4 months ago by Tim Lillyman

5 Minute(s) to read

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading throughout the globe which is shifting business and buyer behaviours.

The virus is forcing many businesses to close down and cut costs, while consumers continue tightening their pockets. 

Just over a week ago in Australia, all pubs, clubs, entertainment venues and places of worship were forced to shut down indefinitely to support the Government and Health organisation’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country. For all we know this is just the beginning.

In terms of marketing, COVID-19 has already had a drastic impact on what businesses are doing.

We believe digital marketing is on the up and will continue a sustained growth throughout this time due to two main factors.

The decline of offline channels 

The majority of businesses’ marketing plans have gone out the window with the continued cancellations of industry events and offline channels. Businesses are getting less face-to-face time with their current and potential customers which is having a massive effect. 

First off we saw events of the largest scale get cancelled, with some transitioning to a virtual delivery. We’ve seen some massive event cancellations by leaders of the tech industry, including the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit event and Salesforce’s World Tour which was delivered completely online. 

In just a few weeks, we’ve seen the same pattern throughout all other small scale events which is costing businesses millions of dollars in planning and marketing value.

For now, offline channels are almost impossible, so although marketing budgets are tightening during the Coronavirus pandemic, what’s left looks likely to go towards digital.

More people online than ever. 

With many people beginning to work from home and staying at home on nights and weekends, screen time will be starting to rise across the board.

Many schools are still open in Australia, but as the situation evolves many families are already choosing to homeschool their children throughout the standard working week.

This means more people are more active on their personal devices accessing social media, search engines, and digital mediums in general.

Businesses now have more opportunity to grasp users' attention across digital channels. 

How businesses can capitalise on digital.

Firstly, it is important to note that taking a larger focus on digital marketing does not necessarily mean spending a fortune on Google Ads or social media advertising.

Some industries, such as the recently closed pubs and clubs, are limited to trading completely, so the focus should be on maintaining their brands and connecting with users organically to stay top-of mind. 

Depending on your business and customer type, different channels will be more advantageous.

The most important thing to do first is stop and think, and talk to your customers if you can, to understand how buyer behaviour is changing. This way you will be able to understand the best way to connect with your customers. 

Now let’s look at what channels could be beneficial to businesses. 

Social media. 

With pockets tightening and users spending more time at home in front of screens, social media presents a massive opportunity for businesses of all types. 

The best bit is that you don’t have to spend a fortune. By simply staying on top of your social profiles, providing your followers with regular, relevant updates and interesting content, you can continue to engage with your customers on a more personal and meaningful level.

Considering the sensitive situation of the pandemic, an organic approach can be more valuable than ever. 

Users will connect and grow trust for brands that take a thoughtful approach to their content rather than continually blasting you with ads across all channels.  

Search engines.

Again, users are at home and online more than ever so if there’s ever a time to analyse your search traffic, it is now.

Search traffic will be volatile across different industries so it is best to understand your organic search performance via Google Search Console or whatever your favourite SEO tool is. 

In terms of Search Engine Advertising, cost-per-clicks are also going to fluctuate as businesses either reduce their marketing spend, or compete to get media space.

We understand this to be quite different between each industry. 

Webinars.

With the closure of all events, webinars are going to be the most important channel for targeted information delivery and group user interaction, especially in the B2B industry.

Webinars are sometimes limited in effectiveness as they are generally free and easy to miss when users have busy everyday lives.

With more people online and at home, we predict webinars are going to be more effective than ever.  

Our recommendation.

Keep it organic and keep it meaningful. 

Consider how your target market is behaving and how they may be impacted by this crisis.

If you can communicate and connect with your users online in a meaningful way you will see the marketing value shine through well beyond this crisis.

We think organic social media interactions, and delivery of valuable, timely content can be the most cost-effective and strategic way to go about your marketing online.

Unfortunately, some industries may be more limited than others. 

The most important thing to remember is that any effort you put into your digital now will continue to be valuable going forward.

If you need any further support with your digital strategy at this time, please get in touch.