How to Formulate an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The world is reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic’s far-reaching effects. In Singapore, where confirmed coronavirus cases surged past the 15,000 mark, stern “circuit breaker” measures have been imposed. Among these are closure of non-essential establishments and restriction of access to public hotspots.

As a result, lifestyles are evolving. People stay indoors nowadays. In-person experiences drastically reduced to a minimum. Consumer behavior trends and purchasing habits are shifting, with preference for online shopping.

Statistical data from Nielsen showed that 55% of Singaporeans visit malls less often, 37% increased their online shopping, while 70% purchase foods and beverages online.

COVID19 Impact

Source: Nielsen Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour (March 2020) survey

The COVID-19 crisis silver lining is that it triggers growth opportunities for eCommerce, which businesses should capitalize. Now more than ever, online presence is imperative for entrepreneurs and SMEs.

So the important question is: what makes an effective digital marketing campaign amidst a crisis? What critical areas should be considered when devising a digital marketing strategy? The following tips can be a good place to start:

  1. Let Actions Speak Louder than Words.

    At a time of crisis, customers seek businesses that genuinely care for their well-being. According to Hubspot CMO’s Amanda Milligan, brands that assist their target audiences are likely to build a following and earn consumer trust.

    Brand Major Impact

    Source: Qualtrics.com

    Consumer Trust Brand

    Source: Qualtrics.com

    A recent Qualtrics study shows that 65% of consumers think that a brand’s actions during the outbreak significantly impact their trust in that brand.

    Forrester’s latest survey also reveals that consumers are likely to purchase from companies that show how they protect customers against COVID-19 threats.

    Naturally, customers gravitate toward brands that translate advocacies into action. How exactly do you instill trust? You can start by creating a dedicated site page for relevant coronavirus updates. This attracts web traffic, mitigates some traffic loss, and provides helpful content to readers. Zalora Singapore, for instance, set up an eDonation page within its website to launch a community outreach programme across Southeast Asian markets for COVID-19 relief efforts.

    Zalora

    Source: https://www.zalora.com

     

    Alternatively, you can direct consumers’ attention to how you’re addressing the COVID-19 situation. If you’re in food and beverage, share what precautions are being adopted to ensure product safety. For instance, after crew members at McDonald’s turned COVID19-positive, KFC Singapore immediately announced contactless deliveries and take-aways on its website.

    KFC

    Source: http://kfc.com.sg/

    If you’re in retail, show the stringent measures adhered to during manufacture and parcel delivery. Amazon.sg. for instance, set up a dedicate FAQs page that answers frequent questions on deliveries and COVID-19.

    Amazon

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/

    To earn consumer trust, transparency and genuine support for the community at this critical time is a must.

  2. Good Content Creates Positive Consumer Experiences

    Edelman’s research found that 84% percent of consumers want brands to focus on helping people cope with COVID19-related life challenges.

    According to TopRank Marketing’s Lee Odden, people confined in their homes are looking to maximize their free time. Brands can seize this opportunity to publish valuable “info-taining” content – such as articles or videos on staying active and healthy or educational “how to” videos on different games or hobbies that creates positive consumer experiences. Lighthearted content can be a welcome distraction amidst uncertain times.

    Doubletree’s info-taining content is a good example.  Doubletree, the hotel chain famous for its chocolate chip cookies, shared its secret cookie recipe to the public on its website. The info-taining recipe video garnered nearly 250,000 views and inspired viewers to bake their own cookies. It was even reported on several online and offline media outlets in the United States.Hilton Newsroom

  3. Increase social media presence.

    People staying at home have more time to spend on social media platforms. In Singapore, consumers turn to social media channels to consume news and stay connected with loved ones. Singaporeans love sharing how they adapt to the “circuit breaker” measures on social media.

    Recent statistics shows that social media usage rate has skyrocketed. Kantar’s latest survey among 25,000 consumers showed that WhatsApp enjoyed 40% increased usage rate. Facebook reported 70% usage increase across its applications (Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger), with Instagram and Facebook live views doubling in a week’s time.

  4. What to Post on Social Media

    Increased social media activity presents opportunities for enhanced brand affinity and audience interaction. It’s important that businesses learn how to engage their target niches on these platforms. But what exactly should you post on social media at such inopportune time? Social media guru Steph Gilbert shares that brands should stay ‘human’ as possible. Strive to be a valuable resource page with reliable, useful content. Understand that engagement comes first before driving traffic.

    Case in point is Revolve, an Instagram brand known for dreamy travel content and vacation-inspired posts.  In light of strict travel restrictions worldwide, Revolve re-evaluated its content strategy. It reduced its usual travel-related content. Instead, it produced stay-at-home lifestyle content encouraging followers to stay productive and positive indoors. Daily posts featured workout routines, tutorials and D-I-Y smoothie preparation. The usual hashtag #revolvearoundtheworld, was replaced with #revolvearoundthehouse.

    Source: https://later.com/

  5. Leverage on Livestreaming

    Bloomberg reports that in the United States, users accessing Facebook Live increased by 50% since January. Facebook has started improving Facebook Live features to meet the increased demand. Live video helps brands connect real-time with their audience, serve existing clientele and earn prospects.

    You may explore the following streaming ideas for your live video:

    1. Launch topical webinars using LinkedIn Live
    2. Conduct live interviews with popular social media influencers
    3. Use of Instagram Live and Facebook Live to do seminars
    4. Sharing of live product demonstrations
    5. Conduct live quick tutorials
    6. Livestreaming of important events or educational topics
    7. Starting a contest or give away of discounts and prizes

    No matter the preferred stream content, ensure that it is appropriate and can resonate well with your audience.

  6. Boost remarketing campaigns.

    According to Barilliance, more than 75% of shoppers visit websites without completing a purchase. Website traffic may be high, but conversion rate is low.

    Remarketing on ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Adroll helps drive previous site visitors back to your website as it targets those who previously interacted with your website.

    In times of crisis, it’s not easy to sell when purchasers are stressed about their finances. Remarketing can be a strategic medium to re-connect with users who showed interest in your brand. To be clear, the purpose is not to hard sell, but to provide incentives. Offering incentives like free shipping, discounts, special promos, flexible financing deals and special pricing resonates well with audiences, and may help put people’s minds at ease.

Why Collaborate with a Reputable Digital Marketing Agency in Singapore

If there’s one lesson the COVID-19 crisis has taught us, it is that everyone is in this together. The government and the citizenry collaborate to curb the outbreak. Likewise, businesses are expected to do their part.

Marketing campaigns must then serve purpose beyond profiteering. While it’s pragmatic to remain sales-driven, it’s equally important to send the right messages to your audiences. Scaling the government’s COVID-19 efforts, contributing to the common good – these are priorities that build your good will and reputation long term.

Contact our digital marketing specialists today. We give valuable advice on how to build your brand identity and enhance your online presence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.