Inbound marketing is difficult at the best of times; in the times of Coronavirus it is even more challenging. While the human cost of Coronavirus cannot be calculated, this pandemic is impacting the economy and business functioning in many different ways, none of which are good.
Marketers are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 as well, and the inbound marketing tactics that worked before are not delivering the intended results today. At least not to the same extent.
From an SEO standpoint, there are some industries that are attracting a lot of organic traffic, while others have taken a huge hit.
Companies in the media, healthcare, food, and finance domain are doing quite well, while others are experiencing a downtrend in traffic.
So, in times like these when not many people (your target customers) seem to be bothered about the products you are selling and the services you are offering, how do you fight? How do you ensure that the Coronavirus impact doesn’t disrupt your inbound marketing effort? How do you make sure that your inbound marketing doesn’t sound inhumane at a time when the first priority of people across the globe, is to stay safe and uninfected?
Here are some inbound marketing tips that you can put into practice:
But before we begin, here’s a word of caution. Do not expect the same results you were able to achieve pre-COVID 19. Things have changed drastically and so should your expectations. If your business is operating in a niche that no target customer, currently, will show interest in, e.g. travel tourism, hospitality, transportation, lifestyle etc., your objective should just be to ensure your audience doesn’t forget you exist.
One word – visibility.
On the other hand, if your business is in a niche that either directly or indirectly can help your customers in these extremely challenging times, your objectives remain the same: attract customers to your site, engage them, convert them into customers, and turn them into repeat customers.
Now, let’s get started:
Planning an inbound marketing strategy to combat Coronavirus impact doesn’t mean you completely revisit your existing strategy. All it requires are subtle changes to set the ball rolling.
Don’t ask your SEO department to stop its activities.
Here’s the thing – if your business is not doing well on organic search rankings, your competitors might be in the same boat. But, if you stop your SEO efforts, and your competition doesn’t, no prizes for guessing who goes on to reap SEO benefits when things start getting better.
Apart from your regular SEO activities, why not look for long-tail keywords around Coronavirus and COVID-19 and optimize content around these. Let’s understand this with an example:
You have an apparel brand and you are seeing a dip in organic traffic on your site. Now, your customers might not be looking to buy clothes, but they are looking for information around coronavirus. So, here’s what you could do - start an FAQs section on your website (if you don’t have one yet), catering to longtail questions:
How is Coronavirus impacting the lives of people?
How to take care of your clothes after you have made the rounds of a grocery store during coronavirus?
How long does Coronavirus survive on clothes?
Why is wearing long sleeves and long pants necessary to protect yourself from coronavirus when you are out shopping?
What you are essentially doing is making good use of the Coronavirus keyword and identifying opportunities of alignment wherein your using this keyword doesn’t look out of place. And, if you actually make an effort to offer meaningful information around these keywords, your website will see an uptick in traffic.
Your SEO strategy must reflect increased sensitivity towards the problems your target audience is facing vis-à-vis this pandemic.
You have many creative opportunities for reworking your social media messaging, to showcase increased concern for your audience. Here are a few examples of some of the big brands doing it via their social media presence:
If they can do it, you can too. The whole idea behind such messaging is to show you care, ensure brand recall, and if the post is good enough, to drive more engagement with your brand. In a best-case scenario, you could even attract a lot of traffic from such posts, to your website.
Think very carefully as to why your audience, at this point of time, will choose to come to your website or even order from it. The logical answer here will be if you are running a campaign of some sort, wherein the proceeds of your sale will go to the needy. So, why not take that route.
This will again showcase your brand as the one that wants to make a difference in people’s lives, in difficult times.
If you haven’t been using videos as a part of your inbound marketing strategy, it’s time you gave it a rethink. According to YouTube, its videos experienced a 500% increase in views. Yes, that’s correct. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of such impressive engagement figures? So, how do you go about creating video messaging that works?
This Ford video “markets” ‘Ford Credit’ targeting existing customers who are either leasing or financing through Ford Credit. The idea here is to sell the Ford brand by marketing it as a brand that is fully cognizant of its role in society and it is fulfilling its social responsibility in the times of Coronavirus.
One of the key focus areas of your videos should be on how you are contributing to society (doing your bit) and helping people when they need help most. This can be difficult if your brand doesn’t have a history of societal contribution. But there is no better time to be seen as a humane company, than now.
So, think of ways you can make that happen.
If you have contributed to a government fund, you can make a video on this. If your employees are contributing to local communities through donation or participation in specific activities, why not create a video around such activities. It’s great content and has tremendous engagement value.
This HubSpot video focuses on some of the challenges of working from home. ‘Remote working’ and ‘working from home’ are topics of hot discussion and extremely relevant today. HubSpot has maximized the potential of this relevance by making a video that provides solutions for a commonly encountered problem.
Creating ‘help’ videos will not only ensure your audience will love to go through them, but also sort out the content problem. You can choose to create videos that might or might not be relevant to your particular niche, but have a generic relevance and solve a larger problem. These are the kinds of videos that have a better chance of driving engagement.
There is no doubting the inbound marketing efficacy of great content. People have a lot of time on their hands today, and they are looking for good, informational content pieces. Yes, they are looking for information around Coronavirus, but that is not the only type of information they want. So, invest this time in creating long-form content, e.g. extremely well-researched blog posts, eBooks, guides, and even long-form video content.
Such content assets can drive your social media marketing strategy and also your email marketing strategy. You can share a link to these assets available on your site, on your social posts. Visitors who come to your website through the link in the social media posts, will be more than willing to share their email to get a white paper or eBook (or any other downloadable for that matter).
The above figure illustrates that around 90% of email users participate in specific digital activities. This makes email marketing a useful inbound marketing activity especially because the costs are low and the results are high – email marketing delivers an ROI of 3800%. Yes, you read that correctly! And in times like these, when you want to cut down on your inbound marketing budget, you want to utilize a strategy that delivers very high returns at low costs.
Email marketing is your answer, especially during Coronavirus.
The term ‘flattening the curve’ is being referred to in the context of tackling Coronavirus. But, when it comes to inbound marketing, you must stay ahead of the curve.
Don’t look at your competitors, especially if they have stopped or are slowing down their activities. In fact, you should take the opposite route. You must continue your strategic activities and if possible, increase them. Yes, you might not get the traction you were getting earlier, but it’s not as if these activities will not give any returns. What’s more, you are keeping the wheels of your inbound strategy functioning and not allow these to rust. This means when things get better, you don’t have to restart your activities from zero. You will be in a far better position than your competitors who had decided to either wind down their activities or stop them entirely.
Inbound marketing to fight the Coronavirus impact should revolve around engaging content and investing in the right activities. This is the time when you will have some leeway in terms of time. You should use it wisely. E.g. if earlier your inbound team did not have sufficient time to create a white paper, things are different now. You can do stuff that you weren’t doing earlier. This is the time to innovate, and its innovation that will help you succeed.