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How to adapt your marketing in times of crisis like the Coronavirus

Last update : 25 November 2020

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As you know, we are currently facing a global crisis of an unprecedented scale rarely seen in the past. While the situation is expected to eventually improve as a result of the measures being implemented, the economic consequences are likely to be quite severe. You can imagine that the tourism and recreation industry will obviously be impacted, but many other businesses may also be affected. The fear generated in this situation often tends to put the brakes on buyers, out of fear and anticipation. Therefore, it is essential for companies to understand how to react and adapt their strategy to an environment like this. In this article, the team at the Montreal web agency My Little Big Web gives you its best advice on how to implement effective crisis marketing.

Communicate on your social networks

One of the first things to implement is regular communication on social networks. Don’t hesitate to talk to your audience and interact with them as much as possible. For example, you can relay the latest news about the situation on your pages to reassure your subscribers and show that you are committed to keeping them up to date on the evolution of the problem. This is all the more important when the crisis calls for collective action. This allows you to play a role in raising awareness among your public and, despite everything, you maintain an active online presence.

How to use social networks to go beyond the crisis

The most important thing to avoid having too much impact on network performance is to go beyond the general context that will slow down your consumers. This doesn’t require you to completely rethink your digital strategy, only adapt it. Stay rational and objective in your publications. You can express your position on the situation, but you should avoid sensationalism. In these cases, emotion tends to take over in the minds of users and emphasizing this aspect could slow them down even more and you would miss out on potential conversions. Maintaining a good level of interaction with your audience will be essential, especially since Internet users tend to be more active online in times of crisis.

Adapt your web marketing publications in times of crisis

Without going overboard, you can write articles to give your readers advice on behaviours to adopt or create a specific section on the measures adopted by your company.

For example, if you are active on Instagram, you can create a dedicated story that includes the latest important information about your company or industry. You can also implement a situation-specific section on your blog, if you have one. This gives your audience the choice of whether or not they want to find out more information.

As a result, you are making information available to those who feel concerned, but people who don’t want to access this content will be able to continue to browse your networks without feeling overwhelmed by these publications.

There is no need to share the many statistics that are circulating or the shock videos related to the crisis that we are going through. Instead, publish information that is useful to your consumers and, as much as possible, related to your business. For example, in the context of the current epidemic, if you are a restaurant and you have set up a delivery service, such as Pastaga in Montreal, don’t hesitate to share this information with your subscribers. Always be sure to convey as much positivity as possible through your publications to avoid fueling the panic that has already set in.

Revise your SEO strategy to deal with the crisis

When a crisis breaks out, it is not so much the situation that will have the greatest impact on your performance, but above all the way you manage the crisis. And one of the most important points to take into account is your SEO. A crisis situation will certainly slow down the activity of most companies, and that’s why it will be essential to anticipate the post-crisis period to avoid facing excessive losses. Let’s take the example of the notorious Covid-19. When searching Google Trends, which allows you to see the number of searches carried out for a specific keyword, you can see a sharp drop in the number of searches for certain terms. In the image below, the selected keyword was “montreal bar”. You can see that searches have dropped significantly due to the health crisis since March 1st. An SEO strategy takes time and results are usually only seen after several months, so you need to think about it as soon as possible.

 

Crisis Marketing Google Trends

Review the optimization of your website

Think about all the optimizations you can do on your site and all the solutions you can implement to increase your visibility. For example, if you have updates to make on certain articles or pages of your site, now is the time to do it. Although the results probably won’t be immediately apparent, it will be very beneficial for the future. Especially since doing so will give you an advantage over some competitors who won’t have this approach in place. In times of crisis, if you are facing a drop in business, it is the ideal time to focus on your business and do things you don’t usually have time to do.

Inbound marketing

Another thing you can consider is inbound marketing. To put it simply, this means letting prospects come to you by being present where they search for you rather than approaching them with salespeople, for example. This is particularly useful in times of crisis, as users are generally much more present online, which gives you the opportunity to reach them more easily. Moreover, this investment will be valuable during and especially after the crisis, since it is a practice that is intended to last over time.

Be creative in your crisis marketing

You can also take advantage of the situation to implement specific actions that will make good publicity for your company. For example, in this period of confinement for several countries, the French television channel Canal Plus has become free for everyone, whereas normally viewers have to pay a monthly subscription. Alternatively, PornHub has decided to offer a premium subscription to all Italians in support of their rather complicated situation.

You can therefore draw inspiration from this type of ad to promote yourself and maintain a proactive presence with your audience. Take advantage of this opportunity to put in place certain promotions or special services. For example, adapt your delivery services as much as possible, either by reducing their costs or by expanding your scope.

Feel free to share other content that deals with this topic, retweet other accounts and relay information. This will show that you have a real interest in the subject, not to mention that you can benefit from the audience brought in by these people or pages. The goal here will be to take advantage of a situation that does not seem particularly suitable. Without resorting to comedy or misinformation (which is not at all suited to the business world), you should try to convey a certain lightheartedness in your publications.

Expand your online advertising

If an economic or health crisis occurs, many business opportunities are very likely to be lost. If we take the example of the Coronavirus or Covid-19 (we may hear about it for a long time to come), the majority of gatherings have been banned. However, for some sectors, particularly the craft industry, events such as trade fairs or open houses are an opportunity to generate a large share of sales.

Therefore, to compensate for this loss of buyers, you can use online advertising to regain visibility. Unlike an SEO strategy, setting up advertising campaigns allows you to see more immediate results and quickly regain your position on search engines. Cancelling certain events has consequences for both merchants and consumers, who will not be able to access the goods they are interested in. This is where online advertising comes in. Users will be much more likely to use services online, so you need to make sure that you are in a good position on the search terms they are looking for. This will help you reach new potential customers and limit the loss of existing customers.

In summary

In short, it is absolutely essential to adjust your marketing strategy in times of crisis in order to limit the loss of business as much as possible. First and foremost, it is important to maintain a good presence on social networks and adapt your publications to the situation. Don’t hesitate to share other content and keep your audience informed of the latest news, without falling into sensationalism. Next, think in terms of SEO: your performance will obviously be impacted, which is why you need to think about the future and the post-crisis period. An SEO strategy takes a lot of time, so you need to be able to anticipate the future. Finally, if you want to make up for some short-term lapses in activity, online advertising will be your best friend for quickly gaining visibility and being well positioned.

If you have any further questions on the subject, or if you need help with the creation of your advertising campaigns, please feel free to contact us!

Eugénie
Eugénie

Co-founder and SEO-SEM Specialist

Eugénie began her web marketing career at Microsoft with partners that included Hewlett-Packard and Dell. In 2013, she co-founded My Little Big Web with Maxence to help SMBs optimize their web marketing. Her SEO, online advertising and user experience skills help My Little Big Web's clients quickly and lastingly rank at the top of search results. Since she is committed to sharing knowledge, she teaches many internal and external workshops and gives talks on various topics related to digital marketing.

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