By: Travis Tallent, Director of Organic Media
As digital marketers, we live in constant change. While we have a track record of adapting to all kinds of changes, COVID-19 is still upending our lives in big ways. The global crisis caused by the virus has already impacted hundreds of thousands – by the time you’re reading this, that number is likely in the millions.
This is unprecedented. Cities are closing; billions are staying home. Given this immediate crisis at hand, our clients have many questions. And for good reason: marketing is challenging right now. It feels wrong. And we can’t be tone deaf about COVID-19; ignoring the crisis is not an option. That said, there are actionable ways for businesses to keep marketing moving forward without disregarding the crisis at hand. We’re here to weather this storm together.
While we look on the short-term horizon—COVID-19 keeping most of America at home, Amazon stopping non-essential goods distribution, and millions out of work—now is the time to rethink your existing marketing initiatives and reorder your priorities.
Timely Website Considerations During COVID-19
If you’re a business directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, it’s your responsibility to keep your customers educated and up to date about your operations. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to ensure your customers stay in the loop:
Update Website Content
• Contextualize your messaging and update your main landing pages copy. Let your customers know how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting your day-to-day operations. Has shipping or store hours been impacted? You should also consider changing your primary call-to-action to something softer than “Buy Now.”
• Depending on your industry and audience, it’s a good idea to use more money-motivated language (e.g., sale, affordable, etc.) rather than other language (e.g., luxury-motivated or eco-motivated). Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and it’s important to reflect this in your messaging across all page elements.
• Ensure that creative showing any COVID-19 rule-breakers—like large group settings, people touching their face, etc.—is updated to reflect the new world. In fact, Kentucky Fried Chicken rightly pulled their “Finger Lickin’ Good” campaign.
• Ensure people don’t try to buy products you can’t ship or attend events that you’re no longer having by altering your site’s functionality and information.
Not sure what to say to your customers? Read our “3 Questions to Answer Before Addressing Your Customers During a Crisis”
Update Local Listings
• Local businesses need to update their local listings as soon as possible so customers know what their available hours are and if pick-up or delivery is available.
Notify Customers Immediately
• Create a blog post or landing page speaking to your COVID-19 efforts and what you’re doing to manage its impact on your operations and employees. Make sure this is easily accessible from every page of your site. A notification bar can be a simple way to let website visitors know about any urgent updates. For example, Highland Homes makes their appointment-only showings a notable call out on every page of their site with a notification bar. Beyond, it leads to their COVID-19 landing page which explains Highland Homes’ efforts regarding the COVID-19 crisis.
Don’t Promote Your Services/Products Heavily
• Similar to updating your website content, it’s important not to be tone deaf during this time. Consider changing the tone of promotional ads, emails, blogs, etc., and instead create content that educates, engages, or entertains your audience (rather than pushing a sale).
• If you are an essential business with products or services people would find useful or need during this time, ensure that your value prop is immediately seen. For example, Kettle & Fire, updated their homepage content to say “Up to 2-year shelf life for easy pantry storage.”
SEO is here to stay
Once your customers are caught up on your operations, you should shift your efforts to the future. Yes, times are changing. Yes, you need to have an immediate response to the crisis at hand, but that doesn’t mean you need to pause your marketing efforts indefinitely. Especially don’t stop any long-term SEO efforts. In fact, many of our clients are shifting budgets from paid media to SEO and content marketing so that their marketing efforts aren’t so overt to customers. In short, marketing momentum doesn’t stop. Capturing those important keywords and increasing your keyword rankings is more important than ever.
It’s hard to know what the future will hold. One thing is certain: We will get through this, together. And when we’re back to normal, we want your business and marketing efforts back on track. SEO is a great tool to use during this time to achieve your goals. Want to strategize further? Let’s get in touch.