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Tips and Resources for Marketers: COVID-19 Crisis

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COVID-19 / March 27, 2020

In less than a few weeks, the business world was completely disrupted. Stores temporarily closed, essentials businesses are overwhelmed with demand, and some businesses have shifted 100% of their focus to e-commerce. 

To help marketers stay proactive and agile, we’ve listed a few tips that can help brands stay relevant during these crazy times and resources that can give you more information on what’s happening in digital marketing. 

Tips to keep your digital marketing strategy relevant in these uncertain times

We wanted to share a few tips to help marketers adapt their digital strategy to the sudden changes in government rules, consumers behaviours, and buyers’ journeys. 

1. Tweak your ads to the current situation

Your consumers’ needs and behaviours are changing and it’s important to address that in your ads. For example, Crate and Barrel focused their ad messaging around desks and chairs as more workers are forced to stay home.

Adapted Minds also subtly tweaked their search ads to the current COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of parents are looking for educational games to keep their kids busy and make sure they don’t fall behind when school reopens.

Another example would be OatBox, a monthly subscription box offering healthy breakfast options. Their ads answer their clients’ concerns about going to the grocery store and supporting local businesses. 

Tailoring your ads to the current situation might increase your users’ trust and their desire to support your business, but be careful of your word choice: Google Ads is suppressing all ads containing COVID-19 or Coronavirus-related keywords.

2. Remove or change assets that aren’t in-line with the government rules

We would suggest removing images showcasing large gatherings, people shaking hands, people eating inside restaurants, etc. Keeping those visuals in your ads could be seen as insensitive. 

3. Focus on Free Shipping and Free Returns or Extended Policies if you offer deliveries

From what we’ve seen in the last few days, mentioning free shipping in ad copy had a positive impact on performance. A whole lot of non-frequent online buyers might be looking to buy on your website right now. It’s important to reflect the in-store experience as closely as possible, free shipping and returns might help you do so. 

4. Proactively Communicate Any Changes Regarding Your Business

Make sure your Google My Business opening hours are up to date or inform users if a shop is temporarily closed. Your opening hours should also be changed on social media to reduce the risk of miscommunications. 

5. Take A Look At What Your Competition Is Doing

Governments are handling the situation differently, so, if you have competitors in other Canadian provinces or in the U.S., their situation might be completely different from yours. Keeping some campaigns running might help you stay top of mind or attract new customers that might make business with you after the crisis ends.

Here are a few ways that you can see how your competition is handling the current situation:

  • If you go to your competitors’ Facebook page and click on Page Transparency, you’ll be able to see their current ads.
  • We suggest sending up to your competitors’ newsletter, if you haven’t done so already.
  • Google your top keywords to see what ads show up. 

6. Focus On Other Long-term Marketing Initiatives

It’s probably a rough time emotionally and financially, but, it might be beneficial to shift your focus to other digital tactics that are less susceptible to short term fluctuations like search engine optimization and content marketing. If you have the capacity, creating more blog posts or running a technical audit might help you gain some traction when the crisis ends. 

7. Tweak Your Landing Pages

You might want to create a whole new COVID-19-related landing page to answer your clients’ concerns as soon as they land on your website. Adding a pop-up or sticky bar on your home page is also a great way to inform your users quickly.

8. Remember That This Is Temporary

This shift in behaviours and this economical dip is temporary. If you can, now is the time to think about your digital strategy to jumpstart your recovery. There will be a big appetite for your products or services when normalcy returns and consumers might be expecting discounts and promotions. If you can plan ahead, you’ll come back from this even stronger. 

Resources for Marketers about the pandemic 

Here’s a list of valuable resources that could help marketers adapt their marketing strategies during these uncertain times. 

[Tweets] Google Tweets Its Search Changes For COVID-19

The Google Search Liasion account on Twitter posted most of the changes Google has made to its search engine since the COVID-19 crisis started.

Google Tweets Its Search Changes For COVID-19

[Blog] Google introduces new COVID-19 and Telehealth GMB links for healthcare providers

Google created two new links in Google My Business for healthcare providers. One of those link sends users to COVID-19-related information.

Google introduces new COVID-19 and Telehealth GMB links for healthcare providers

[Glossary] Terms Around The Covid-19 Pandemic

It’s important to use the correct terminology when talking about the COVID-19 pandemics, especially for public announcements and advertising. The Government of Canada published a list of words to use when releasing information about the crisis, in French and English.

Glossary on the COVID-19 pandemic

[Credit] Google is offering ad credits for Small and Medium-sized Businesses

Google wants to help small and medium-sized businesses by offering advertising credits ($340 million worldwide). Eligible companies will be notified directly on the platform.

COVID-19: Ad credits for Google Ads Small and Medium-sized Businesses

[Credit] Facebook also wants to help small businesses

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. At this moment, there isn’t much information available in terms of who is eligible and how the program works.

Small Business Grants Program

[Statistics] Statista Stats And Numbers Around The Covid-19 Crisis

Statista is one of our favorite resources for statistics. They’ve created a landing page around the COVID-19 crisis and gave free access to charts and reports around the subject. You’ll find interesting data around COVID-19 disease pandemic effect on various industries, economical impact in different countries, number of cases and recoveries around the world, the impact of COVID-19 on media consumption in the U.S., etc.

Statista Facts and Figures about COVID-19

[Blog] Why Companies Turn to Digital Marketing to Survive COVID-19

In this article, Forbes gives a good overview of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses and how digital is keeping some businesses afloat.

Why Companies Turn to Digital Marketing to Survive COVID-19

[Form – Quebecers Only] Ask Your Questions to the Quebec Government

Although we try our hardest to stay on top of things to provide answers to our clients’ questions quickly, it might be valuable to directly reach out to the Quebec government for questions about your businesses. 

Information for businesses and essential services

[Blog] Thinking Of Reducing Digital Marketing Due To Covid-19? Read This First

Search Engine Land is a credible source of information in the paid media industry and they’ve written a great article around COVID-19 and marketing budgets. 

Reducing digital marketing due to COVID-19? Read this first

[Blog] Google Search Ads Recent Covid-19 Related Policies 

Here’s another great Search Engine Land article around COVID-10 and Google Search Ads. Google Ads is trying to minimize the impact of businesses trying to take advantage of the situation. 

A look at Google’s recent COVID-19 related policies in search

[Blog] 4 Major Trends Caused by COVID-19 and How to Respond

Wordstream’s articles are always packed with valuable information. In this article, they present 4 recent trends around COVID-19 such as a decrease in mobile searches and new cross-network opportunities.

4 Major Trends Caused by COVID-19 and How to Respond

[Statistics] How COVID-19 Has Impacted Google Ads Results for 21 Industries 

Here’s another relevant article around COVID-19 and Google Search Ads from WordStream. Find out benchmarking metrics for similar businesses in your industry. 

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Google Ads Results for 21 Industries 

[Blog] Covid-consumers: Pessimistic, But Spending More Online

Get more insights into consumers buying patterns in this article. According to Search Engine Land, people are pessimistic about the current events, but are still spending up to 30% more online. 

COVID-Consumers: Pessimistic, but spending more online

[Best Practices] How To Pause Your Business Online

Google has laid out best practices for “pausing” your business online. If you can’t fulfill orders right now, or if you had to stop your activities temporarily, you need to read this.

How to Pause Your Business Online on Google Search

Final thoughts

We hope these tips and resources will give you more insights on online consumer-behaviours, the COVID-19 pandemic and how your brand will adapt to the constant changes. We’ll try to update this article with new resources as they come in, feel free to share some in the comments below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie-Joëlle Turgeon

Marie-Joelle works at Bloom, a digital marketing agency, as a Marketing Coordinator. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design) for B2B businesses looking to grow online.

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