How to quickly adapt your marketing in a Coronavirus world (and overcome this crisis)

Rock Content, in its entirety, has begun a mandatory home office policy since March 16th. We are more than 550 professionals — so you can imagine the complexity of that.

Our sales team sends us frequent emails about how we can avoid a possible decrease in new businesses. They ask insistently for new content and actions to help them in this critical time.

If your life didn’t change in the past couple of weeks, be prepared. It is a question of time. 

Covid-19 will affect everyone. From a professional standpoint, your habits will change, your company will be put to the test and, a few months from now, it will all be different.

With few exceptions, we will all go through a period of decreased sales and contract cancellations, with clientes insecure about economic scenarios and financial restrictions. And how does marketing stand in the middle of this?

It keeps being extremely important, but it is time to adapt quickly. In this crisis, doing more of the same doesn’t work anymore.

Right now, we need to think about it as two distinct fronts: what I need to do to mitigate current challenges, and how I can act today to avoid future losses.

A decisive test for your brand begins now

There is a natural tendency to talk about Content Marketing with a big focus on its predictability and metrics.

At calmer times, it makes total sense, but there is not much tranquility about the moment we are living.

Sure, monitoring sessions, conversions, CAC, and others are still essential. But this is the time to broaden our horizons and target what will have a huge impact on your business’ future: how your brand is dealing with the situation right now.

Your brand will be tested way beyond marketing. The way you treat your employees, your rights and wrongs in communication and your actions to help society are being watched.

In this scenario, what does a marketing team can and should do?

• Switch the focus of content production to something that tackles people’s immediate necessities and calms them. For sure, there is some knowledge in your area that is useful right now. Here at Rock, we are investing in content about home office, and pieces like this one you are reading right now.

• Be close to the company’s leadership when they share positive actions to fight the virus, and avoid any message published by the company to be misread as opportunistic.

• Closely monitor the evolution in local and global scenarios.

• Assess all ways in which the company can help right now, suggest them to the directors, and spread the word. Here, we are making our home office guide available for anyone to copy, adapt, and use it. We are also giving NGOs and public schools in Brazil free access to Rock University’s content.

These are only a few examples, but they are essential for your brand to navigate through turbulent times and have a positive reputation in the future.

And of course, helping others is always the right thing to do.

And what about generating demand?

Well, the first step here is to accept reality: the actual moment will be slow and steady for all of us. It means there is a real chance your goals won’t be achieved.

On the other hand, being still will not help either. The sales team is counting on you, and giving up is not an option! It is time to be creative and make the most of any possible opportunity.

If you already have a content strategy running, probably the traffic at the top of the funnel will not be much impacted — which will grant visibility and leads.

The problem will be in converting those leads into clients because no one is that sure right now about closing new deals.

Here is where marketing comes into action. Some examples:

• Use informative content about the situation in the sales process to ease the common anxiety showed by prospects. A great tip is to ask the sales team which are the main doubts and objections leads are showing, so you can produce content for the top of the funnel that tackles these questions.

• Verify how these objections are affecting purchase decisions, so you can create the middle and bottom of the funnel content to overturn them. Here you can use sales enablement content, case studies, and webinars.

• If possible, offer discounts and special payment conditions for a little while, until everything settles again. It maybe won’t guarantee your income, but will at least ensure your client base.

• Reallocate part of your paid ads strategy from the bottom of the funnel to top and middle. This action will improve lead generation, and these prospects can be approached by marketing automation or sales.

Actions like these will ensure that losses are minimal because your sales team will be better equipped to deal with clients’ insecurities and help them make a better decision.

Preparing for the future

These tips were thought as a way of making the most out of an extremely negative situation and keeping its impact under control. But we have to keep in mind that all of this will pass and the company needs to be ready to come back in full swing.

Something that surprised me when the Covid-19 pandemic started was the number of businesses depending on events to generate demand. In some cases, I saw entrepreneurs talking about 60% of their leads being generated this way.

To a lot of companies, paid media is losing steam at this moment because ads are generally focused on the bottom of the funnel and buying intentions are at a dangerous low right now, especially in B2B.

These two examples are specific actions that were hugely affected by the circumstance.

But the construction of your brand, reputation, and audience lasts through time and will not cease to exist because of that. This is why marketing routines and actions cannot and should not stop.

Facing this hard test for your brand by being useful, relevant, and helping others will not only help you survive a crisis but also create a positive and permanent impact in your image. When it all settles down, you can bet actions taken now will help you do business.

The audience you are building through time will also not disappear. Your top-of-the-funnel content will keep being useful and searched by people — it doesn’t matter if they are at the office or at home.

Yes, some loss is expected. But it will probably not be as severe as you think and it will be temporary. Until now, Rock Content’s traffic went down by 13% on average.

This means that fewer leads are being converted into clients at the moment, but at least they are being generated, and the content is helping people who can, in the future, be prone to doing business.

If you are one of those not sleeping at night because of canceled events, I suggest you create your own media channels. It is not a coincidence that so many companies are investing in podcasts, newsletters, and blogs nowadays.

Take care of your team

Times of uncertainty are hard for everyone and require a lot of professional effort and sacrifices. If you manage a team, it is your responsibility to help them get through it.

That is why you should never stop paying attention to their mental and physical health. 

It can be extenuating to ask your team not only to keep their regular routines in such a scenario but also to deal with pressure coming from sales, creating new strategies for the situation, producing more content, and everything else.

And it does not help to do all of that in isolation. Anxiety and emotional distress can be harmful to our productivity. So, do frequent remote meetings with the cameras on.

Allow the team to have this more human, visual contact. Be always available for a talk and try to ask frequently about how they are feeling.

If you are not a manager, take care of your colleagues. It is not because you are physically isolated that you also have to be distant socially. Text, talk, do quick video calls whenever possible.

We are witnessing an unprecedented moment in history; this is true. But we can comfort ourselves in the fact that at least it is temporary.

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