The only thing these days that has got the world talking about is the deadly coronavirus. More than 800,000 people around the world have been found positive for the coronavirus, and the number is increasing, day by day. Everyone around the globe is experiencing a new lifestyle of social distancing and lockdown at their places. As reported by the “Business Insider,” a popular American news website, a third of the world population is on lockdown. People have given up their usual lifestyles and are adapting to the bare minimum essentials. The impact of this virus is not just on the individual people’s lives but also on the economy as a whole. While the world experts are trying to save the people by figuring the way out of this situation, let us analyze the current situation and its impact, especially on the global markets and marketing professionals.
The spread of coronavirus is creating a chain of reactions. Firstly, allow me to begin by understanding the economic situation. Firstly, The New York Times reports that many manufacturing units around the world, at varying levels in various countries, are shut down as per government advice, as a measure to curtail the spread of the disease and would remain shut until further notice. Only those industries that produce essential goods are operating, and especially at less than full capacity. There are restrictions on the procurement of materials for these industries, as well. The governments are restricting the movement of goods to and from outside their countries. However, some businesses depend on sources of raw materials from outside their countries. Some companies cater to customers outside their states. Now, due to this whole situation of production and logistics regulation, there is a supply chain crisis.
As the first step towards dealing with movement restrictions, companies are asking their employees to work from home. They have to prioritize their employees’ health over everything else. By making their employees work from home, they can also take care that there is no sudden halt in their business. Such an arrangement might seem comfortable for those with a desk job. But it can not support departments that require reaching out to people daily. Traditional marketing and sales, especially in the business-to-business sectors are such essential departments that can take a major blow if the situation doesn’t improve.
On the other hand, we, as digital marketers, need limited infrastructure to work and can easily find comfort in working from home. Right from SEO, SMM, SEM, content design and creation, data analysis and strategies, at least I have been able to do it pretty easily while ‘Cemetery Gates’ was on the speaker at full volume in my bedroom. However, in my opinion, factors such as productivity, collaboration, and communication are vital factors to ensure the proper functioning within a digital marketing business.
At Content Raj, I have been managing digital marketing projects while working with freelancers since 2018. Although for some, work from home may pose a significant challenge but actually to me, it didn’t change much. So, coming from a Digital marketer who has been working from home for a pretty good amount of time, I am sharing a couple of strategies, tips, and tricks for digital marketing amid coronavirus. The focus is on increasing efficiency through working from home and how even you can do it.
Turn your minds into innovative workshops
All these days, you would have been working on things in a specific manner. You would have evolved such a practice through experience and habit. Now that the environment in which you operate is quite different, it is essential to think from perspectives that suit this modified environment. You have to think creatively and think out of the box. As per the global study conducted by Adobe, 75% of people feel that they are not making full use of their creative potential. Also, the same study reported that 6 out of every 10 people think that if they are innovative, it can help in improving their country’s economy. Therefore it is essential to stay creative.
For example, while working at Alpha Fortress, as a Marketing Head, my team and I had to have direct communication with our clients. Yes, we can not go on-site obviously! But everyone is well aware of the current situation and connecting via Skype or Zoom should not be a problem. Yes, there are other aspects of an on-site meeting and I would any day prefer it over an online meeting but this is how it is for the time being! So, innovation begins with how you can communicate with the customers efficiently and virtually. There are a variety of courses out there to help you in this regard.
Spend time on social media networks
During this coronavirus outbreak, the whole world, be it business owners, employees, and even customers, are all spending more time than ever on social media. A study in the United States of America by an influencer agency called “Obviously,” stated that there is a 76% increase in the accumulated number of likes on advertisement posts in a day, during the coronavirus outbreak.
People at home are reaching out to social media for news. 66% of people around the world, as per a recent study conducted by IZEA, an American based company, think they would end up spending increased hours on social media websites. It is the best time to make use of such an opportunity. All that I am suggesting is that you also spend a lot of time on social media, get those brand awareness ads rolling, build your remarketing audience.
It is time you create content that the rest of the world can scroll through. Come up with more social media presence and upload content regularly. We, as digital marketers, need to be extremely observant of our environment, creative thinkers and resourceful. And for all the social media strategists, content curators, developers and publishers out there, this is the best time to come up with content that can capture the attention of millions of audiences that are actually hungry for information.
You are marketing now for the customers to buy later
In this kind of a challenging situation, there are fewer possibilities for people to shop for products that are not essentials. It does not mean that a business has to halt all the advertisements and marketing. Yes, you need to change the posts from selling right now to creating brand value! Based on the data revealed from a recent analysis by IZEA, 44% of the people are preferring household activities and spending most of the time online. Unless you are a business dealing with essential food, medicine, and healthcare, at a time when everyone is being strict with their pockets, it would be hard to grab some eyeballs to sell something. If you start to feel that advertising now is only a waste of money, then you are seriously mistaken!
The situation is as unexpected as it can be but there is no need to be worried about the reduced opportunities. Even if the market crashes and industries fail, a time will come when all this is over, and people will be back to their healthy lives. They have to! And when the spending capacity goes up, this would be the time that marketers will look back to.
A lot of competitors will be temporarily and some will be permanently shut. Some may even change their business models. This is the time when you pull the bowstring. The efforts you put right now to create brand value today will help you reap the benefits tomorrow. In fact, as things will get better, it is estimated that the government may ease the lockdown and more services will be open. So, just like China, we can estimate the businesses to resume after a certain period, gradually as the definition of ‘essentials’ changes. And till then, our clients will be at their home and a study by IZEA shows that high as 99% of the people spending time online would think of purchasing, subscribing or opting for a digital product or service.
Thankfully, you can still reach every house through emails
The challenge for marketing companies is not just about maintaining their existing customer base. It is also necessary to keep the company growing by locating potential customers. Businesses HAVE to check their mailboxes. And, the easiest way to market products is by posting email newsletters. A data published by Imagination Publishing LLC, a pioneer in content marketing, reveals that 83% of the B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their marketing strategy, and 40% of them agree that it has played a critical role in their success.
Almost every decision-maker that you can possibly think of, is stuck to his/her screen. Are you checking if your email campaigns are mobile-friendly? An analysis by Imagination Publications LLC started that 35% of businessmen prefer to check their email from their mobile phones. This way, you can build that rapport with your existing as well as potential customers, which can go a long way in supporting your business.
Now that you have a clear idea of managing your marketing business during these challenging times, it is essential to equip your team and keep them up with your revised targets. It is possible that the business is making huge losses, your strategic partners and clients are not able to hold on to their side of the commitments, and everything seems like going south for you. But think about the people who follow you – who are looking forward to you making a decision. So, the focus is not just on you figuring out ways to reach out to customers. It is also crucial that you have a team that is equally motivated as you are to do the same. Always remember that a unit that stays together grows together and this collectiveness is the key to success.
Always carry positive energy
Wherever it may be, when you are working with a team, your positive energy could be contagious. A study conducted by Smarp, a company that develops with employee communication applications, reveals that when organizations function with highly motivated employees, their profits tend to grow up to 21%. It could instantly brighten up the mood and bring more efficiency. So, it is high time that you reflect and spread the smile, laughter and the zeal to boost morale. That one lame joke that makes your colleagues chuckle, well now is the time you use it!
Working from home should just stay the way it is! “Work” from your home. Wake up in the morning at your usual office time, have breakfast at your ordinary time and if you can, put on the usual attire (well, I don’t do the last one though). But, this exercise will by itself give you a feeling that you are attending the office. Now, it is all about filling your calendars with online meetings and voice calls instead of a conference room meeting.
Just a pro tip:
Stay away from the couch or bed. Create a separate workspace like a home office, so that your virtual idea of attending the office is satisfied and your work takes place just like it used to be.
Bond with your team members over a virtual tea break, why not?
During challenging situations, it is essential to stay together as a team. That is what a good business does; it is also a trait of a good leader. About 83% of the companies around the world have agreed that there should be good leaders available at every level of their organization, says a report by InfroPro learning, an award-winning corporate e-learning company. You must put all your interpersonal skills to display at this time. A recent study has brought to light the fact that group calls over the internet have increased by more than 1000% during the last month, since the coronavirus crisis. So, follow the suit, and always keep in touch with your team over video, or at least voice calls.
It is essential to ensure that none of your team members feel isolated or neglected. You can have a daily or weekly status update on your project(s) and, at the same time, discuss personal wellbeing. It is essential to not just feel, but communicate that you care for your team.
All of us are also going through a transition. So, just relax, be more approachable, and even take time out from official conversations and indulge in warm, happy virtual meet-ups, and why not over tea? By doing so, it gives them a sense of support and togetherness. They will now start showing a lot of interest in staying connected and engaged in the project. Be more proactive in clarifying customer queries, prepare them for the situation when things would get back to normal, and ensure that the quality of service is just as good as it used to be earlier. If you are missing your team outings, happy hours, or Friday pizzas, do not compromise on that little fun. You will have to make it possible, now on a virtual medium.
I understand that you are focussed on getting the business going, even when there are a lot of challenges thrown at you. I highly appreciate that you can manage work from staying indoors, which people generally believed to be challenging for marketing personnel. However, it is equally important to take care of your health. Being able to work from home is a comfort that you should not take for granted. Also, you should not be spending endless time at your seat. Take regular breaks just like you do while working from the office, stick to your office hours when working from home, and engage yourself in productive work throughout the day!
One more advice – turn off the systems when it’s the end of your work hours (if you can)!
The coronavirus pandemic has confined us merely to our homes. But let us also look at the bright side of this. Most people in marketing can get what they have been longing for, and all these days spent at the office – a work-life balance. There were times when you have stayed up all day long at the office, sometimes even pulled an all-nighter, and had negligible time for personal stuff. You would have missed family time, would not have been there for a family get together, and so on. This new way of working from home lets you focus on the job as well as enjoy family time. At times of crisis, all you need is people helping out each other, caring for one another and providing all the support in the world, that you possibly can.