‘Non-essential’ businesses under lockdown have stopped sales, but strengthening branding and customer loyalty needs full steam, says one marketing agency.

While certain brands may be experiencing a huge increases in sales during the pandemic, the vast majority of businesses like restaurants, event organizers and more have been hit hard by full or partial lockdowns globally.

Still, no matter how dire the situation may seem, there is always a way for businesses that are willing to adapt and pivot their messaging to meet the needs of customers.

Hong Kong based marketing agency First Page Digital is one company that is sharing its survival stragegy with the world.

How has the approach to marketing changed?

Before the coronavirus outbreak, marketing budgets were distributed across print, TV, outdoor, event and of course digital channels. Now in the thick of the pandemic, businesses are having a hard time making offline channels worthwhile.

On the other hand, the digital landscape, is a burgeoning scene. According to Virgin Media, media consumption “was up 90% on the first day of school closures.” This comes as American adults are already spending “over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media.”

While businesses have traditionally favored marketing strategies that were much more product and service-centric to drive more conversions and sales, the goal has now switched to brand awareness. Businesses that are willing to pivot their approach are turning to the digital landscape when it comes to allocating their marketing budget because the mix of social media platforms, digital channels and influencers offers a great investment for this purpose.

Using “Support Marketing” to position your brand

During a pandemic much of your online audience may not be looking to make huge purchases or sign up for new plans. Above all, they are looking for support in a time of need. But marketing has always been about providing value. So, if businesses are not directly driving sales now, how can they stand out?

According to First Page Digital, navigating digital marketing presence during a pandemic is about creating content that will make people’s lives easier in some way or another.

Each business needs to find new ways to connect with people, educate them and even just entertain them. By humanizing the approach and carefully crafting their brand message to implicitly (or even explicitly) suggest that the brand is there for people throughout the crisis, they will be remembered favourably when things improve.

Fluid, sensitive and transparent content that provides a tangible benefit to people’s lives is how smart businesses are turning to digital marketing for everyone’s advantage.

Being able to say that “we were there for you” when times were rough and then adapting your message back to one that helps you remarket contacts and a new audience is key. This will be instrumental in transitioning all the brand awareness gained during the pandemic towards new conversions and sales.

Besides, aspects of digital marketing like SEO are inherently long-term strategies. Investing in digital marketing now ensures that in time, business that survives will thrive and come out on top of the competition.