The COVID-19 crisis has cast a shadow over all interactions, including communications between businesses and their customers. While business goals should always be kept in mind, brands need to adapt their messaging and their offerings to turn this economic downturn into an opportunity to serve their audiences.
During our PPC for B2B session of Live with Search Engine Land, Brad Geddes of AdAlysis and Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing shared a few trends they’ve witnessed and why adjusting for our new reality is the most effective marketing strategy right now.
High time to reevaluate the hard sell. “The smart [businesses] have really looked at the ads carefully to say, ‘What message are we putting out there? What needs to change? How are we more sensitive in an industry where we want someone to do something?’” said Geddes, explaining that he’s seen much softer calls-to-action now than before the pandemic.
“Before, it was buy, buy, buy, do this now, etc. — you see a lot more softer education or engagement happening then you saw previously,” he said, using a commercial from toilet paper brand Cottonelle as an example. “It was, ‘Hey, stop hoarding toilet paper, we make enough to go around, share with your neighbor,’ and it wasn’t salesy, but because it was so timely and such a positive message, guarantee their sales are going to go up through a non-salesy ad,” he said.
Help your customers, but don’t stop tracking campaigns. “We’ve got a couple of [clients] that are actually just offering content as their campaigns, so we don’t really have a cost-per-lead goal on it because the purpose is not really to generate leads,” Morgan said regarding the direction that some of her clients have taken in light of COVID-19 and its impact on their customers.
“If you can provide meaningful content to people, they’re going to be more likely to buy from you down the line because you’ve already provided value, so doing that, especially during this time of extreme need, I think has been really helpful,” she added, noting that her agency is keeping an eye on these efforts and intends to remarket to those audiences.
Many brands are creating educational content or expanding their free offerings to help customers, and while the primary objective may not be to market themselves, businesses need to keep tracking campaigns and should retarget those audiences to get a better idea of how effective their campaigns have been during this time. This information will be especially useful if, as some fear, the health crisis takes on a seasonal nature.
Why we care. Adapting your messaging, products and services to address your customers’ pain points is at the heart of marketing, and failing to do so during a crisis such as this puts your brand at risk of coming off as insensitive and greedy.
As Morgan said, brands that are able to weather the storm while continuing to serve their audiences are more likely to earn their loyalty and business in the future.
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