6 Digital Advertising Tips to Use During a Crisis

By Michael Lazzari / March 31, 2020 / Digital Marketing Blog Archives

When life throws your business a pandemic… Don’t panic.

Instead, stay positive and get prepared.

There are a number of effective ways a brand can remain on the offense — without being offensive — during a local, national, or even global crisis, and still communicate with its intended audience in a valuable way.

When tough, strange times arise, they are usually unexpected and unpredictable, which is why swift action is needed.

We know this based on the past. As marketers, we must use our past experiences and current skillset to come up with the best solution.

Use What You Learned in the Past to Succeed in the Future

For me, I think back to 2008.

At this time, I was flexing and focusing my paid search skills in the automotive sector.

With the auto industry facing severe economic setback, digital advertising teams had to combat the crisis that hit like a ton of bricks, starting in 2008 and lasting through 2010.

Manufacturers went out of business and dealerships were sold. Consumers also were making the shift to purchasing more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Adapting to the large changes in that particular market took adjusting and readjusting to adapt with the way we were marketing our products.

Again, now, our country is going through another difficult time.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the way brands interact with consumers has been forced to change drastically.

Proper pandemic marketing efforts aren’t about making quick, thoughtless decisions. They’re about adapting to changes and fitting the needs of consumers.  A shift away from in-person contact towards digital communication has become the new normal.

So, what better way to reach potential customers than through digital marketing channels?

1. Reach Consumers Where They Live

Despite all that is going on, American shoppers have not disappeared.

They are still in the market for many products and services, shopping online now more than ever.

A savvy business will take advantage of this.

Navigating your business through these adverse times can be stressful. However, if you analyze the current landscape and adjust your approach, you can come out on top when things have turned a corner.

Many businesses, right now, are making the mistake of completely cutting out marketing efforts to decrease costs and stretch budgets.

But, while consumers are self-quarantining and practicing social distancing, they are spending more time in front of their screens, researching the prices and products of things they need most.

This gives brands a unique opportunity to focus on digital marketing and stay in the game — using timely digital marketing strategies to succeed.

2. Cement Your Brand

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a way to solidify a brand and what it represents so it stands out in the digital landscape.

The No. 1 goal has always been to have consumers recognize a brand and, in turn, purchase the brand’s products.

This is the time to get focused on that goal.

Brand identity is critical to the success of your business. Make sure to tie the brand, product, and personality into everything you do. Cohesive messaging throughout paid marketing campaigns is a must.

This messaging should also flow seamlessly to organic strategies.

Make your brand known among consumers, and make sure they remember you when these tough times are through.

3. Expand Your Brand

Keeping your brand in front of consumers will become more important than ever. Testing some of those less-than-standard marketing strategies will pay off in the near future.

For example, doing more video and connected-TV marketing will help keep your brand front and center while people are dealing with and recovering from this situation.

Like I said, people are going to be in front of screens constantly!

4. Refocus Your Targeting

It’s important to make sure you are focusing on the areas surrounding the business, especially if you are a local business.

People are staying close to home right now and traveling longer distances is out of the question.

The proximity will be important if the business wants to offer curbside pickup, people aren’t likely to drive a long distance for something that quick. And we’re not just talking about restaurants.

If shipping or delivery are a possibility, let your audience know they don’t need to leave the comfort of their home for your product. Be sure your messaging is clear in making that point.

Also, revisit your current target audience. Make sure you are hitting the best possible people that will remember your brand and are the best converting audiences.

5. Leverage Social Media

Stay connected to your customer base, local businesses, and the local community.

If social media hasn’t already been worked into your marketing plan, the time is now. It’s the perfect way for brands to engage in the digital conversation.  

Use this as an opportunity to begin engaging in a dialogue, as well as helping the community.

With the increased reach, engagement, and time spent on social platforms we are seeing during this crisis, don’t choose to pause your social media efforts now.

Advertising on social media keeps your brand relevant and in front of your target audience. This keeps your brand top-of-mind so that when people are ready to purchase, they purchase from you and not your competitors.

6. Don’t Try to Cash In On the Situation

The last thing you want to do is exploit fear and leave people with the impression of a brand looking to make a quick buck by profiting off of a crisis.

Finding a better way to show that you care and are willing to help is a far better approach.

Supporting local restaurants, teachers, and medical personnel is imperative for our current climate. Showing this support will give people a positive outlook when thinking about your company.

Also, letting them know you have made proper adjustments to serve customers safely will be equally important. Let your customers know that you are taking extra precautions with sanitizing and disinfecting all surfaces.

When this is all over, people will remember the brands that stepped up and made a positive difference in their community.

Stay On Top of Communication, Stay on Top of the Situation

There are plenty of ways for brands to succeed despite many businesses being forced to close their doors due to state, local, or federal restrictions.

But that doesn’t mean businesses still can’t thrive.

Take the tips that work for you and your business and come up with a plan to keep your business and its employees on the offensive, serving customers that need it most, no matter what outside factors contribute to that difficulty.

For more help with your digital marketing strategies, and to maneuver the difficulties many businesses are facing during this difficult time, contact our digital strategy team.