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Digital Marketing Dos and Don’ts During COVID-19

Mandana Rafat

Director of Digital Marketing


Apr. 9, 2020

Over the last few weeks, the production of online content directly and indirectly related to COVID-19 has increased exponentially. In tandem, online media consumption is up significantly due to measures that are keeping us at home self-isolating in an effort to flatten the curve. There is no doubt this global crisis is affecting us in new ways we had not yet considered day by day.

For many non-essential business owners, the sharp and immediate impact requires immediate actions to be taken in order to mitigate further losses. Make sure your plan takes into account your short, medium and long term projections and plan accordingly. To do so, keep in mind these digital marketing dos and don’ts. Remember, marketing is not strictly sales nor will each tactic lead to a direct sale. It’s an ecosystem of tactics and strategies to address how your customers learn who you are, why they need you and should advocate for you. With the current landscape, it may mean why they will need you soon.

Remember, marketing is not strictly sales nor will each tactic lead to a direct sale.

Don’t – Panic

This may be easier said than done, but it is essential. Keep in mind that no business is truly excluded from the impact of COVID-19 globally. How you operate will likely change – plan accordingly, but don’t panic.

Do – Plan

Digital Marketing Dos and Don'ts During COVID-19. Plan accordingly

You guessed it, first things firsts, make a plan. Take note of what channels your current digital marketing strategy is leveraging and what your communication plan has been traditionally. Evaluate historic results and the immediate impact to all campaigns amidst the current pandemic. Essentially, identify where you are now before deciding what to do next.

Crisis management is defined as the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens the organization or its stakeholders.  With this in mind, start with a crisis marketing plan.

Don’t – Go Silent

Even if your customers aren’t ready to spend with you now don’t leave them in the dark. It’s more important now than ever to keep the communication lines open. Address COVID-19 with sensitivity and don’t carry on as if it doesn’t exist. But beyond this, keep in mind consumers are also trying to wrap their heads around how the pandemic will continue to affect them. While they may not be ready to spend now, it’s not enough to re-appear when the dust settles so to speak. For many businesses that may be too late. Businesses who leverage online content well, are poised to steal future market share from competitors that are sitting back and waiting for clarity we may not get in the immediate future.

Do – Change Your Mindset

Digital Marketing Dos and Don'ts During COVID-19. Change your mindset

Darwin’s quote on adaptation has been cited in multiple ways in the last few weeks. It may be redundant but it’s accurate. The way you do business may change whether you facilitate it or not. But right now the most beneficial change is how you view your digital marketing goals and strategies.

Communicate with your customers even if you can’t sell them something now. Add value for them through content.

Don’t – Abandon Marketing Altogether

There is no doubt your digital marketing efforts will change. You’ll have to cut some expenses to maintain the appropriate cost revenue ratio but you shouldn’t abandon marketing. If digital wasn’t a large component of your marketing plans it’s likely going to take up more of your resources now as people have been directed to physically distance and stay at home. Your marketing efforts should be focused on providing value to your target audience so you can garner support and an affinity towards your brand for future business activity.

Do – Change Your Marketing Plans

Digital Marketing Dos and Don'ts During COVID-19. Change your marketing plan

There is a lot of online chatter about reducing your paid advertising budgets. Some experts advise pulling back advertising budgets for non-essential businesses. While this is likely true, it’s also vague. Online content has always been on an exponential trajectory, but the nature of what is being produced now is heavily impacted by the effects of COVID-19. I predict how-to guides for at-home activities to become even more relevant and needed. This means your branded content won’t be the only one vying for visibility in search engines and social networks. I recommend reducing online media budgets but changing the content strategy.

We’ve been advising for years that our clients invest in building and acquiring an email list. While many of us chose to communicate with brands on our favourite social platforms, privacy and policy changes affect who we once had a direct line of contact with. This is why it’s important to include email marketing into your marketing plans. If you don’t have a list, invest the time and resources into acquiring and building one now.

We’re committed to sharing insights as we navigate through the changes and new developments that will surface in the coming months. Learn how businesses are navigating through the impact of COVID-19.

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