Crisis marketing: how to redefine the priorities of your digital strategy?

Faced with the upheavals brought about by containment, it is sometimes difficult to see clearly what the marketing priorities are. While the temptation is great to put everything on hold, this “no risk” strategy could well cost even more once the health crisis is behind us. Quality content is the backbone of any good digital strategy, and this is even more true in times of uncertainty. But in concrete terms, what actions should be taken in the immediate future? And how do we prepare for the recovery? Here are a few ways to turn the corner today and bounce back effectively.

A clear and up-to-date website

This may seem obvious and yet many websites still do not offer any practical information to their visitors:

  • Are your activities still going on? Are you reachable?
  • Are you able to guarantee your services? Under what conditions?
  • Is it still possible to order online?
  • What are the consequences in terms of delays, exchange, possible costs?

Even if containment has no (or little) impact on your business, inform your customers who are legitimately concerned. A lack of clear and up-to-date information can not only distract your customers and prospects from your website, but also damage your image – at least in the short term.

Decathlon has understood this and has set up a FAQ to answer its customers during containment. Double beneficial effect: the customer finds answers to his questions quickly and Decathlon avoids a potential call overload.

If you have a Google My Business (GMB) account, also think about updating the opening information of your points of sale (Google advises you how to proceed). You do not need to submit new GMB listings or add/reply to notices or FAQs, as Google is currently prioritizing the healthcare sector, and opening and attribute information for other sectors.

The right tone for your campaigns

As a result of the containment, many digital and media agencies have seen the cancellation of campaigns scheduled for the coming weeks. While some of the postponements are understandable, others seem to have been decided out of panic, as the newspaper.   L’Echo reported in an article on 22 March.

If you stop all communication during this period of containment, you also run the risk of delaying your lead/sales generation when you relaunch. More than just stopping your campaigns, you need to adapt them. Starting with your “ongoing” campaigns in SEA or on social networks.

Take the time to review your various ads: Are they still relevant? Are the promoted services still relevant? Is the tone used well adapted to the context?

For some campaigns, it is a question of pausing them; for others it is a question of adapting the budget and/or the copy used. For still others, the Call to Action (CTA) is to be reviewed. In some sectors, the focus should be put almost exclusively on after-sales service, which implies a complete review of the campaigns, and a special attention to negative ASP keywords, to avoid seeing your costs go up unnecessarily.

A concrete example from the company X²0:

If you have advanced remarketing strategies in place, review each step of the scenario to ensure clear and consistent communication. Work with your agency or external consultant as a priority.

(Re)define its content strategy

If you have not done this work yet, the confined environment may be the perfect time to focus on your content strategy. And if you already have one, it may be time to adjust it to refocus on the current and future needs of your customers.

  • Personas & tone of voice

Take the time to personify the target groups that your company addresses with the personas concept. Each target group should be represented by an archetype (a persona) in the form of a card with their name, age, socio-demographic situation, interests, needs/problems, criteria for making purchasing decisions, etc…

Ask yourself the following question: “In what way does this period of confinement modify the characteristics of my persona: his interests, fears, needs, but also his values and beliefs…”.

Once you have defined your personas, it will also be easier for you to specify your “tone of voice”, i.e. the way you wish to communicate and be perceived. If you have already formalized it previously, ask yourself what adjustments, if any, should be considered in this strong emotional context.

  • Editorial calendar and priorities

Based on your personas, create, or update your editorial calendar, taking into account the SEO opportunities. In particular, adapt your “hot” content, i.e. the punctual content, linked to current events.

Currently, our concerns in Belgium, as elsewhere in the world, revolve mainly around the following areas:

Currently, our concerns in Belgium, as elsewhere in the world, revolve mainly around the following areas:

Relevant and reliable information on the health crisis and its consequences: evolution of the epidemic, (dis)containment measures, health, social and economic consequences, distance working, assistance to companies, etc…

The impulses of solidarity and the need to feel useful: donations, thanks to the hospital sector, production of protective equipment, assistance to people/businesses particularly affected by the crisis, support to NGOs, …

Products or services that help to alleviate confinement: food (and its storage), well-being / cocooning, on-demand video, e-commerce, children’s activities …

Therefore, (re)define the priority contents that meet the expectations and questions that your targets are asking today – as long as you are legitimate to provide these answers. And do not mess up the writing; your content must be of quality, sincere and provide real added value.

Make your work easier with automation

Writing quality content is not enough. It is also necessary to ensure that it benefits from the desired visibility. Think about relaying your content on your website and social networks, but also promote it through paid campaigns, in order to reach a wider audience.

Today there are very useful automation tools to optimize this distribution such as Publer, Buffer, Hootsuite, etc.

More broadly, use your time to challenge your digital organization in the age of automation. Which routine tasks would you like to automate, and conversely, which ones have high added value?

Which tasks would you like to internalize versus those that require the expertise of an external agency/consultant? What key skills do you need to develop to stay up to date and anticipate digital developments? This is your chance to rethink your internal organization to make it more agile and capable of change.

Optimize your existing content

Once the priorities related to the health crisis are under control, take advantage of the lull in the crisis to analyze, implement, optimize…and thus get ahead of your competitors.

You can, for example, put yourself in your users’ shoes and test the UX of your website to identify possible “bread points”, remedy them and thus increase your conversion rate. 

This is also the right time to work on your natural referencing strategy. First because a good SEO optimization implemented today will make you more visible tomorrow. Thanks to better organic positions in search results, you will be able to generate more traffic and sales when business picks up again.

Another important advantage: this SEO work will also benefit your SEA campaigns after the crisis. Indeed, in a context of increased competition.

To improve your natural SEO, think about optimizing:

  • The technical factors of your site: speed, URL structure, 404 pages, hreflang, microdata…
  • The contents of your landing pages: SEO tags, single theme per page, focus keyword, text length, internal mesh…
  • Your YouTube channel and your videos: Titles, description, tags, playlists, …

And prepare the following

When the workload increases, it can be difficult to meet the defined editorial schedule. Take advantage of the time you have today to get ahead of the curve and take care of your content as much as possible.           

Be creative and vary the formats to grab the attention of your targets:

  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Webinars

Also consider SEO opportunities:

  • Carry out a semantic analysis to identify the most relevant keywords (or keyword themes).
  • Take care of your URLs and SEO tags: Title, Metadescription, headings, alt tags
  • Add microdata where relevant, to help search engines better understand your content and make it more visible
 
Need help defining your priorities and adjusting your content strategy? Do not hesitate to contact Semactic’s team to discuss your digital marketing and develop an SEO action plan together.

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