If you’re not conducting some form of Digital Marketing right now you may be missing out on a unique opportunity…
Something interesting is happening online right now, and it’s not the abundant production of Tiktok videos. It’s happening across the big end town with multinationals letting fear override everything we’ve learned during the GFC and pulling their online ad campaigns (Source: New York Times). Marketing in a time of crisis is an easy budget for reckless CFOs to slash and burn because, one, marketing costs seem like unnecessary expenditure and two, it’s an easy expense to cut because the negative impacts on brand awareness, sales and reputation won’t be apparent for some time. The Internet Advertising Bureau in the USA shared a research article last week claiming that 86% of publishers had been asked to pause or cancel their client’s ad campaigns. Online marketing guru Neil Patel has shown online traffic has fallen across a range of industries, with the obvious categories such as Construction, Transport, Travel and Advertising leading the declines.
However, the world’s largest marketing research firm, Kantar released a COVID-19 research barometer which found that only 8% of people felt that brands should stop advertising. Adding strength to their previous findings that brands who continue to advertise through a downturn come out in a stronger position than those who do not.
1. Heavily discounted ad inventory
With large brands pulling their campaigns it’s putting pressure on publishers to reduce prices. Particularly for auction based biddable media, such as Google Adwords. US search agency Wordstream has shown cost per click prices are declining between 7-23%, depending on industry. At the same time conversion rates are increasing across a number of categories so this is an epic time for small businesses to launch branding campaigns. This doesn’t necessarily mean diving in to exploit the situation, but it’s an efficient time to launch videos and brand building campaigns to build trust in your business.
2. The new growth sectors transacting online
Looking for certainty is still dominating search queries with terms such as ATO Jobkeeper, Centrelink Job Seeker, and LinkedIn featuring the daily Top 10. However, entering the 5th week of home isolation people are turning to search for inspiration and learning. These search terms are increasing exponentially:
“How to Make”
“How to Bake”
“Free online Learning”
“Free Online Games”
Free TAFE Courses NSW 2020 Coronavirus is currently the #9th most ranked search on Google, after the common questions about tracking the virus and seeking employment assistance.
So tapping into this trend, you could create short form videos for a bit of education and fun about your business, these are the types of content that are being shared on social channels.
Sydney Wildlife Zoo is keeping kids and grown-ups entertained with a mixture of education resources such as the Animal Habitat Sheets and fun live streams of their animal feedings.
The Sydney Opera House is opening its doors streaming recordings of their most popular concerts as part of a new program “From our house to yours”. Keeping audiences engaged and showcasing some of their best Theatre, Music and Talks.
Local producers are also coming together to support each other during the COVID-19 lockdown. Tamworth Pub, the Wedler’s Arms found itself in a challenging position when social restrictions forced the closure of pubs, hospitality venues and cafes. However, the team was fast to innovate and pulled together a collection of the best food & beverage suppliers in the region to produce Bunker Boxes. Using the pubs brewery and cold storage facilities, produce is centralised and packed ready for distribution. These Bunker Boxes have a variety of produce which is unique each week and includes cakes & breads from the local bakery, fresh market vegetables and meats all from within the region. This is a great way for people to get their weekly food supplies whilst also supporting the regional community. There’s been over 100 boxes a week sent out so far.
3. Small Business Credits
If you’ve been using Google Ads in 2019 you may be able to access their small business credits. This is designed to encourage existing customers to continue spending so you’ll need to have spent with Google at least 10 out of the last 12 months. If you’re new to the game, then maybe it’s worth considering setting up a Google My Business and Adwords account. Once you’ve registered your business credentials you can access $100 worth Ad credits to start testing. The other option and our recommendation for beginners and intermediate marketers alike is doing one of Google’s free courses. There’s a Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Course specifically designed for self-paced e-learning and aimed at getting your small businesses e-commerce ready. The best thing is you can do it at your own speed. The subjects are broken down into simple modules with quizzes and an online exam and certificate at the end of the course. https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage-au/course/digital-marketing
Facebook is also supporting small businesses with grants for businesses who have experienced challenges because of COVID-19. The grants work through an application process and the company must have been operating for at least a year and have between 2-50 employees. Further details of this program are yet to be announced for Australia but it’s worth registering for here. It’s also a great time to use that home time to brush up on some Facebook Skills, check out some of the courses on Facebook Blueprint
New advertisers to Linkedin can also claim a AUD$50 credit to get started. The strength of using this channel is an ability to promote B2B events aimed at a professional audience. Before you rule out this channel, keep in mind that your suppliers, employees and distributors are also professionals in their specific fields. Linkedin may offer a unique way to strengthen these partnerships whilst also building your reputation looking for new partners.
In the absence of face to face customers there are numerous ways your business can still operate and build its reputation, don’t stall in adjusting your operating model.