We have all been affected in some way or another by the recent pandemic. As the precautionary measures started to be put into place, and eventually the lockdown being announced, this has had a big impact on all businesses throughout the country; big and small.
With this sudden shift in normal life, there has been a lot of adapting and we have seen a lot of changes being made to the way that businesses operate.
As a digital agency, we are fortunate in the fact that we were practically already equipped to deal with these changes. Although we’ve seen a change in our day-to-day office lives - being that our offices are now our homes - we have been able to continue our business as usual; working together remotely as a team, and have been able provide the same service to our clients as before.
We have always encouraged businesses to go online (we’d be a terrible digital agency if we didn’t), but during this time a lot of businesses have now been forced to switch to relying on online services, as their usual way of trading is no longer an option for most.
Whilst some businesses may be suffering, some have seen that changing the way that they operate has actually been beneficial to them, and have seen a surge in business.
For example, a client of ours who provides steam room and sauna designs for commercial properties, such as gyms and spas, saw that they had an influx of enquiries and business due to these properties using the lockdown as an opportunity for an upgrade in their spa facilities. As we have been focussing our marketing efforts on targeting the commercial side of their business, it ensured that when their audience were looking for this service, Anapos was right where they needed to be.
eCommerce Marketing Strategies
With this new-found time on people’s hands, a lot of the general public have taken it as an opportunity to carry out DIY projects on their homes and gardens. This has meant that large retailers such as, B&Q and Aldi have had long waiting times just to get onto the website itself, with queues of around 45 minutes at times.
Although this has been frustrating for users, it has meant that smaller retailers have reaped the benefit as a lot of online users are now going to smaller or more local businesses instead. This is a huge marketing opportunity for smaller businesses, to get themselves in front of these users that are dropping off from using larger retail sites.
The quickest and easiest way to do this is through a Google Shopping campaign. This way you can target users searching for specific products, by using Google Trends to find out what the most popular search terms are for your particular industry.
Take a look at this example from Google Trends. We did a search for Garden Furniture, and looked at the comparison over a 5 year period. This shows a huge increase in users searching for ‘Garden Furniture’ this year, compared to every other year prior.
Using this tool can help you to determine which products or services are currently the most sought after with online users, and can help you to focus your marketing efforts on the things that your potential customers are actually looking for. And it’s perfect for creating an effective Google Shopping campaign to reach those who don’t want to wait around in online queues because, let’s be honest, who has time for that, even in a lockdown!
We used this as an opportunity for one of our clients, who sell a wide range of electrical equipment. Their audience would be less likely to be shopping for this kind of product at their usual large retailers, due to some being closed and the fact that it’s not as simple as nipping to a supermarket for a lightbulb at the moment. So, we set up Google Shopping campaigns focussing on the products we had found to be the most popular in our search data; one of them being ‘Replacement Light Bulbs’. Focussing on these specific products ensured that our client was visible to prospective customers of theirs, when searching for these types of products.
Google Ad campaigns in general can be very beneficial during this current climate, especially as some businesses may even be switching their campaigns off in order to save money during this time. If you are able to fulfil a need that people are looking for at the moment, that other places cannot fulfil, then now could be the best time for you to start utilising Google Ads, as well as other marketing strategies to get yourself out there and visible to your potential customers.
On the other side of this, we have noticed that some products and services have taken a slight downturn since the pandemic. For example, business-focussed products such as, workwear clothing items; due to many companies having to furlough their staff, there is less need for purchasing workwear. In these instances, we have looked at switching off any paid marketing strategies and put our efforts into organic, so that these clients are in a strong position once things start to return to normal.
When putting efforts into marketing strategies it’s important to be forward-thinking and prepared for any changes. Guidance and advice is extremely changeable during these times of uncertainty and therefore, it means that you have to be ahead of the curve and ready for any swift changes.
As a lot of people’s lives have slowed down, they are now taking more time to consume information on their phones, including emails. Before the lockdown people wouldn’t typically pay much attention to what’s in their email inbox, unless maybe it’s an email for a free birthday donut from Krispy Kreme - or is that just me?!
This means that email marketing is vital at the moment, especially if you’re a business who can’t really do much business at the moment. This is prime time to be gathering information about your customers, so that you can plan for long term.
We have been using this opportunity to help our clients to really understand what it is that their customers want, so that they are prepared for marketing to these potential customers once they’re able to work again.
For example, one of our clients design and install bi-folding doors. As we are currently not allowed to have people from outside of our household within our homes, they have been unable to provide their services at the moment. Therefore, we put together an email marketing campaign which was sent out to their customer base; this included a survey asking people about their home improvement ideas during lockdown. The data gathered from this was then used to write an article which was sent to major publications, and will serve as great digital PR for our client.
As we didn’t want to just write an article that people may forget about, we wanted to really use this opportunity to our advantage. Therefore, we will be creating a tool which will provide users with an estimate on how much value adding something like bi-folding doors will add to their home. This will help us to gather contact details for potential customers, who may be thinking of investing in this once lockdown is over, and will allow us to market to them at the appropriate time.
If you already have marketing strategies and campaigns in place, take this time to think about changes that could be made due to the current circumstances, such as:
If your business premises is currently closed, pause any Ad campaigns that target key phrases such as ‘near me’.
Change wording across your marketing (ads, meta descriptions, on your website, in social media posts, etc.) to include terms such as ‘contact-free service’ or ‘non-contact delivery’, to make your prospective customer feel more comfortable in using your service.
The most important thing in this uncertain and unpredictable time is to stay up to date with the guidance and advice, and ensure that you and your business are prepared to adapt to any changes that may be implemented. We all hope that things will go back to some kind of normality very soon, but in the meantime if you’re looking to adapt for the future and take your business online, our team is here to help.