In the wake of COVID-19, businesses have been affected across almost every vertical. With many brands unsure of where to turn amid the crisis, we are reminded of how important it is to have flexibility within our marketing strategies. While these strategies can be planned up to a year in advance, many efforts are no longer applicable due to the various restrictions that consumers are facing. 

It’s in times like these when you need to adjust your marketing strategies.

How to adapt your marketing strategy 

Consumers are feeling uneasy. So the best thing you can do is try and provide them with some peace of mind, and remind them that we are all in this together. Learn more about how to be available for your consumers with these 10 strategies.

1. Reevaluate your company core values

When was the last time you took a deeper look at your company mission? Whether it has been over a year or various new members have joined your team, now is the perfect opportunity to consider what values lead and drive your business to success. 

Encourage your employees to take some time to think about the morals and practices that make your organization so unique. Once you have established your updated core values, you can create graphics and share them on your social channels, which will remind people of the reasons they enjoy being your customer.

2. Foster transparency

One of the best ways to maintain trust with your audience is by fostering open, honest communication. By keeping your customers in the loop about a crisis that your company is facing, you are able to strengthen the bond with your audience. This also adds a personal touch to your brand and reminds your consumers that your company is composed of empathetic humans facing similar struggles. 

Continue to provide product availability updates when possible so they are aware of what is in stock and what will be available in the near future. Also, consider making an official statement explaining how you are keeping your employees and customers safe while under quarantine. This leaves your audience with little to wonder about how you are handling the pandemic.

3. Ask for consumer feedback 

Another strategy we have seen brands practicing is asking their followers which type of content they are interested in seeing. While it is not an ideal time to promote your products, there are many other types of content that will engage your followers. 

Publicly poll your fans on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, to ask them what content they are interested in right now. This may include positive quotes, scenic photos, and memes to offer a good laugh — all of which are very popular at this time. This strategy shift is effective because it allows followers to provide their input on favorable content. It also shows that the brand genuinely cares about creating content that their audience is interested in.

But it’s not enough to just ask your customers for feedback, you also need to respond when your customers reach out to you. Stay in touch with your audience and show them that you are always there for support. By interacting with your consumers, you create a special connection that they will always remember because it shows how much you value the relationship. 

4. Alter your brand messaging

While it is unsuitable to promote gatherings, traveling, and in-store shopping, you can change your brand positioning. Right now, you should be reminding consumers that even though the situation has changed, you are still there for them. 

Offer content that reflects their new lifestyle routines. These trends include fun activities at home for the family, productive behaviors to practice while under quarantine, and positive affirmations that the world will get through this together. This will leave a lasting impression on your consumers that they will remember when they are ready to purchase. 

Also, consider highlighting eCommerce capabilities that you have available while offering free shipping. This will encourage them to purchase your products while staying safely at home. Keep your customers in the loop on any delays that may interfere with product shipments, while addressing how your warehouses are following CDC guidelines.

5. Develop timely pitch angles

Get creative with your pitches by including messaging about staying home. Think about how your products can provide value or a solution to readers who are staying indoors. The best way to grab media attention is with timely, unique messaging that will compel them to include your brand in editorial opportunities. 

Quarantine crafting, learning a new skill, recipes for the family, and at-home workouts are among the top trends the media is writing about. If you have a product that can fit similar themes, go ahead and pitch away! If your products aren’t necessarily tied to these specific themes, be considerate in reaching out to the media as their focus has changed.

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6. Create an evergreen content library

Evergreen content is imagery, blog posts, and other forms of content that can be used throughout the year. Take inventory on the content your audience loved in the past and repurpose it for the future. This strategy is excellent for local businesses that may be closed right now, making content creation difficult. While your customers may not be able to visit you in-store, sharing this repurposed content will remind them of all the reasons they enjoy being your customers.

Remember, as you grow your content library, the position of your brand changes throughout the year based on seasonality and the nature of your product or service. In normal circumstances, many companies would focus on promoting unity amongst family and friends, holiday celebrations, event promotion, and more. 

It is important to recognize how your brand positioning may change amidst current events and certain restrictions consumers are facing. Focus on creating content that your consumers can enjoy while staying home and highlight any eCommerce capabilities you have available.

7. Improve SEO and user experience

According to a recent study, web browsing is up 70%. Understanding how your website performs on search engines is crucial to brand success. Are potential customers able to easily find your brand? How are you ranking on Google? 

Knowing your search rank on the most popular search engine, claiming 93% of all organic search visits in the US, is extremely important. Use this time to optimize your website and improve the consumer experience. Research keywords to ensure they are relevant for what your customers are searching for. If you haven’t updated your website design in years, now is the time! There are so many unique web design capabilities available now that will help you stand out amongst your competitors. Investing the time in this strategy now will make all the difference when consumers return to buying mode. 

8. Revamp your email marketing strategy

Have you been putting email marketing off while focusing on other efforts? Now is the perfect time to introduce a welcome and abandoned cart campaign. In fact, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI. 

It is important to recognize that your goal is not to push sales but to strive to entertain or add value for your audience. This will provide a proper introduction to your brand with potential customers. They will become more familiar with your company, and in the future, maybe more likely to purchase your products over a competitor. Begin testing various subject lines, call to actions, and templates to see what is effective, which will provide you with valuable intel that you can use throughout the year.

9. Modify your ad strategy

Facebook has reported a 70% increase in usage across all apps during the month of March 2020, proving that this is an optimal time to reach your target audience. If you had planned to promote an upcoming event or product launch in your initial strategy, consider changing your call to action to something more appropriate for the time being, such as promoting your product availability online. 

Continue momentum with your ad strategy by incorporating various call-to-actions, including “Shop Online,” “Free Delivery,” or “Same Day Shipping.” These CTAs allow consumers to continue to purchase your products with an added benefit. In addition, consider shifting your metrics to engagement as opposed to conversions. While ROI is usually a top priority, engaging with your target audience is one of the most powerful things your ads can do.

10. Host virtual events

If your event has been canceled or postponed, there is an opportunity for you to promote a virtual event instead! Software for video conferencing and webinar technology is rising in popularity. Consider hosting your event virtually and connecting with your audience on social media. Incorporate virtual event hashtags on Twitter to encourage the conversation surrounding your event to provide them with a similar experience that they had been looking forward to.

Pivoting your strategy

Apply these tips to shift your marketing strategy now and focus on the elements that must be flexible when planning for the future. Now that you understand how to shift your strategy, for the time being, keep these tips in mind when planning for the future. 

This pandemic has led us to reevaluate how we create our strategies, putting a large emphasis on the importance of flexibility. We know now more than ever, life rarely goes as planned. Be prepared for the unexpected and design an adaptable strategy that can change course at any time.

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AvatarDavid Hernandez

David Hernandez is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner at lotus823, an award-winning integrated marketing agency. His visionary leadership dedicated marketing expertise and drive to excel are at the heart of lotus823’s success and reputation as a trusted partner in the integrated communications space.