The Essential Free Guide to COVID-19 Crisis Marketing

red open sign

As we all continue to grapple with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis as both a nation and within our homes, Australia’s business owners, sales managers and marketing managers need to think about how we can get on with business. This calls for a slight shift in our regular pattern of thinking, from: “How is my business going to get through this?” to “What is my business going to look like on the other side?”

The answer may seem a little grey right now.

At Oddball, we are committed to continually sharing the best options to help you market your changing business throughout COVID-19. We’re here to support Central Coast businesses and beyond, for the long-term, with free crisis marketing advice.

Go easy on us, as we have never lived through a pandemic before either! But we are sharing EVERYTHING as we learn it it in the hope you can get some valuable takeaways for your own situation, (or perhaps share them with someone struggling to run their own shop right now?).

If your current priority involves adapting, pivoting, flipping or transforming the way you do things in the short-term – we can help make things clearer for you.

How is your business coping?

Since the pandemic hit our shores, people in business leadership or management positions have been confronted with a choice. Almost overnight, they needed to commit their company focus on one of the following options:

  1. Plan to Hibernate
  2. Plan to Survive
  3. Plan to Thrive

None of these options are easy. Whatever route a business decides to go down, there is still plenty of work to be done!

And that’s why we’ve created this resource. It’s a kind of map to point your operations in the right direction.

During COVID-19, businesses really need to focus on WHAT they can offer customers, and how best to deliver it. It’s vital to rethink HOW you market to customers too. How do you let them know you’re still here? How do you update the public that you’re “Open for Business”? Are you clued in on how to attract new customers?

You might want to bookmark this article, as we will continue to add more and more insights all the time to grow this resource library.


What you’ll find in this article:

  1. How to access free, weekly marketing tips

  2. Most popular free online resources for businesses

  3. Marketing under current COVID-19 restrictions

  4. Marketing under COVID-19 in the coming months

  5. How to market your business after COVID-19

 


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Top 7 Most Popular COVID-19 Marketing Resources:

  1. Why Google Ads still Works Wonders during a Crisis
    During a crisis, your natural instinct is to view paid Google Ads as an unnecessary expense, but here’s proven reasons why AdWords is now a significant marketing opportunity, even during a global pandemic.
  2. Inspiration from Central Coast Businesses Dealing with COVID-19
    Despite the limiting reality of COVID-19, we’re hugely motivated by the fighting spirit of Central Coast businesses already trying these simple yet effective marketing ideas.
  3. 5 Ways your Marketing Strategy can cope with Social Distancing
    Social distancing is changing the way consumers buy. It’s now up to business managers and owners to change their marketing to help people, not sell to them.
  4. JobKeeper Program: 3 Important Considerations for Businesses
    Australia’s JobKeeper program guarantees some security for small to medium businesses, but have you considered these 3 important aspects for the next 6 months?
  5. Has COVID-19 Changed the Customer Journey Forever?
    There is no ‘business as usual’ with the customer journey profoundly changing due to COVID-19. Keep up by moving from old activities to these new opportunities.
  6. 7 Ways Marketing can help your Business Survive COVID-19
    Practical advice and ideas on how to adapt your business and continue advertising products and services to stay healthy during a global crisis.
  7. Adapting to COVID-19: Video & Tech Tools for Business
    Innovate your business overnight by introducing our top recommended digital tools and video technology to your business and daily remote routine.

 


What Challenges and Opportunities is COVID-19 Creating?

Right now it’s a difficult time to stand out with your online marketing. People are suddenly inundated with the latest news headlines, social media angst, plus everything we are doing at the moment is surrounded by so much uncertainty. Add to this the massive risk many people will perceive when considering a purchase, ultimately causing them to hold back (this is not a time for being a spendthrift!).

Some businesses haven’t lost customers, but instead gained them. If you’re in an industry selling essential products or services that people can access or use at home – you’re probably experiencing a boost in trade. Websites featuring online shops (an “ecommerce” website) are seeing a particular boom at the moment, while all physical shops are closed indefinitely.

For example, Australian businesses like Harvey Norman and Kogan are doing bumper trade right now. Consumers are seeking to upgrade their home devices as we sit out COVID-19 in isolation. Other high-demand businesses, such as local grocery stores, accountants or even Bunnings are also doing extremely well considering the current restrictive climate.

Most businesses are doing it tough though. This is partially due to enforced restrictions, but also because of no flow-on business being generated.

All things considered, there are some massive challenges ahead. We will be addressing how to approach and overcome these in the coming weeks by covering topics such as:


Suggested Initial COVID-19 Business Response

(this applies if you are a business still trading)

STEP 1: Make sure people know you are still trading

If you have made the bold decision to keep trading under COVID-19, you need to communicate this with your customers. This includes if your opening hours are reduced, or your services are restricted to online only. You need to share this information clearly and consistently across all your existing platforms, including social media and your website’s homepage as this is where customers will look. And if you haven’t already created a Google My Business account – now is an absolutely vital time to set this up!

STEP 2: Let them know how you are dealing with and complying to restrictions

If you’ve told your regular customers that you’re still open for business, they will also want to know how (and if) they can approach you. Online only? Can you video quote? Have you extended your contact hours? Are you delivering your goods directly to customers who order through your website? On top of this, you need to share a message showing how responsible you are being as a business in reaction to COVID-19, which includes how you treat your customers and staff safety right now. This will help to create trust and demonstrate you’re putting people’s health and safety above making a sale.


Later Stage Marketing COVID-19

(we’re talking May to December 2020)

If you think COVID-19 is just a short term issue, you are going to be very disappointed. The presence of this virus is here and will be for a long time, even if in the background.

Our (non expert) opinion is that we won’t collectively get rid of the weight of Coronavirus this side of Christmas, so we may have to learn to run our businesses with the ongoing risk of a COVID-19 outbreak around every corner. A potential outbreak may come from within our own country, or from overseas visitors (we can’t stay isolated from foreign countries forever).

This means if we want to stay trading in 2020, we need to be highly adaptive.

What we need to work out is how you can best connect with customers and deliver your services while the threat of COVID-19 still remains. To explore this, explore the following areas:

  • What are the Top Marketing Channels to utilise during COVID-19?
    1. Search Engine Marketing
    2. Website Display Ads
    3. Social Media
    4. Email Marketing
    5. Video Marketing
  • How do we remotely grab customers’ attention during COVID-19?
  • Do customers even want to hear from us during COVID-19?

That last point is quite vital. It’s all well and good making moves to evolve your service… but it’s pointless if people don’t know about you and can’t find you. That’s where your marketing plan should come in…


Later Stage Marketing Strategies COVID-19

Marketing strategies we consider best suited to the COVID-19 climate right now:

 


Post COVID-19 Marketing

(now we’re realistically talking about 2021 onwards)

We want to focus on getting prepared for a world recovering from the suffocating grip of COVID-19. This symbolises a time when we can all truly get back to ‘business as usual’.

The reality is that we probably won’t see this happen for 12-18 months – either with an international vaccine or controlled contact. That’s the most likely reality, and we’ve got to work with it.

So what businesses really need to think about as part of a smart 12-month Marketing Plan is finding answers to:

  • What kind of behavioural changes have become commonplace during COVID-19?
  • Will our ‘new normal’ set in and COVID-19 effectively change the way we do things from 2020 onwards?
  • What changes may revert back to the way we used to do things?
  • How long will it take for customers to come back (or have they realised they don’t need us)?
  • With the economic damage, how long will it take before people can afford to spend again?

Post COVID-19 Marketing Strategies

Come the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will need to be equipped with a thorough action plan. At the moment, we believe this involves:


This is your window to grow through what you go through.

Fighting to get businesses on the frontline of success is what we do best. At Oddball, we’re committed to doing this for the foreseeable future. The list of clients we’ve helped power through the challenges of COVID-19 is growing. And so are their businesses! We want you to become a real-life example of this. Just ask us how and we’ll happily share a practical plan with you.

5 Ways your Marketing Strategy can cope with Social Distancing

red person standing out from crowd

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is one of the most difficult challenges most businesses will ever face. Its impacts will last for months, perhaps years to come. And as social distancing and remote working become our new norm, we are seeing a significant shift in consumer buying patterns.

Within an extremely short space of time, we are now seeing more:

  • Panic buying of essential items
  • The rise of the home-cooked meals as the hospitality industry shuts down
  • The fall of tourism spend due to international and domestic travel restrictions
  • Decrease in luxury spending as consumers safeguard their finances
  • Increased shopping online, particularly through mobile devices

These changes in consumer behaviour are a direct result of new social distancing rules, asking people to:

  • stay at home and only go out if absolutely essential
  • keep 1.5 metres away from others
  • avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • use contactless payments instead of cash
  • travel at quiet times and avoid crowds
  • avoid public gatherings
  • consider cancelling non-essential meetings
  • avoid all non-essential travel

So, as a business how should you adjust your existing pre-pandemic marketing strategy during COVID-19 and the turbulent, socially-isolated period ahead?

Before Entering Crisis Mode

To survive any crisis, including associated economic slowdown or negative sentiment, you will find that innovation, agility and empathy are the essential tools you need in your arsenal. As consumer lifestyles continue to adapt daily, you must also adapt your business to proactively reach out to where they are (most will no longer naturally come to you).

To change the course of your marketing strategy, there are five ways to adapt your existing marketing strategy to cope with the new social distancing regulations…

1. Foresee changes in consumer needs

As more stringent measures keep people physically apart to slow the spread of Coronavirus, mental health experts are warning that the loss of everyday social connections comes at a psychological cost. With stress, boredom, anxiety and a sense of loneliness combined with the impact of social distancing, it is now crucial for businesses to anticipate customer needs and address them before they become problematic. There are online resources available on the government’s Head to Health platform that you can springboard ideas from that apply to your own business.

For example, with many children now staying home from school and all sports put on hold, it has become difficult for parents to keep their children entertained and socially engaged. A local Central Coast dance school, JB Dance, is now offering live, online dance classes delivered via Zoom to entertain, teach and keep children connected while face to face dance classes are restricted.

2. Leverage technology

There are some positives to working from home in isolation. You get to play around with the latest tech platforms and online video tools in your pyjamas. To maintain some version of normalcy amid the Coronavirus pandemic, staff and businesses across the world are quickly switching to digital tools that innovate the way they deliver products and provide a service. Not only is this a great example of human innovation, but it’s an excellent time for the latest video and technology platforms to be put to the test.

Anticipating restrictions on hospitality, we assisted Sydney-based Indian restaurateurs, the Kesar Group, to pivot online, developing three new websites with online ordering functionality, contactless payment and contactless delivery.

We’ve collected a list of the digital platforms, technology, and tools we rate highly at present. We encourage you to innovate by simply introducing even a few of them to your daily remote working routine.

3. Hold a strong digital presence

It is without dispute that increased social distancing will have significant impacts on how we consume media online, with Neilson research predicting that media consumption could rise by up to 60%.

Consumers are spending:

  • more time on streaming platforms for entertainment
  • more time on e-commerce websites for shopping
  • more time on social media platforms in order to remain connected to the outside world.

As COVID-19 disrupts regular business and marketing activities, businesses need to be fluid and adjust their focus to communicate with customers where they are right now.

As a result of shifting attention and media consumption patterns, we are seeing a decrease in Google search ad impressions. As Google Search is a platform primarily utilised to speak to customers who are in the consideration or decision making stage of the customer buying journey, businesses may need to look further up the funnel to adjust their strategy accordingly.

In the last month, we have worked directly with several Central Coast businesses to quickly develop downloadable content focused on educating their consumers and grabbing their attention through social media (rather than Google).

4. Focus on customer experience

In times of uncertainty (sick of hearing that word yet?!), instilling confidence in customers is invaluable. To achieve this, provide them with the means to cope with the current situation. Provide additional value. Go beyond what is expected to help. These should all be central pillars to your marketing approach. Showing empathy and prioritising a good customer experience will help elevate your brand during a crisis and build a loyal tribe of advocates.

The closure of gyms across Australia has taken a massive toll on the fitness industry. The face to face exchange of knowledge and access to equipment is no longer possible. This means gym owners have had to recalibrate their customer experience, responding to the changing needs of their members.

In reaction, we’re seeing the rise of group classes delivered in ‘virtual gyms’. We’re also seeing one-on-one online nutrition consultations for people concerned about the temptations of working so close to their kitchen. Free video workout demonstrations are also available for those who want guidance minus the restrictions of online classes.

5. Build a purpose-led brand

Quarantine and lockdown measures are designed to keep people physically safe and reasonably healthy. However, the disruption to the way we live and work may also leave many people mentally stressed, anxious, confused or even frightened.

The challenge for marketers today is to find ways to build relationships with their customers beyond what they sell. Focus primarily on helping –not selling. Determine how you can shift your focus from the products or service you offer to how you can support customers during this period of many unknowns.


At Oddball Marketing, we understand everything is a little crazy right now. But you don’t have to feel like your fumbling in the dark for overnight answers – there is help available.

Although none of our team have lived through a pandemic, we do have decades of experience teaming up with businesses to get them through tough times. We’ve been hard at work since the COVID-19 curve accelerated, feverishly developing valuable resources and practical advice to share with you. This advice is available below, and will help you learn how a business can adapt to stay healthy during this global crisis.

How have you tweaked your marketing strategy to fight COVID-19? Tell us how on LinkedIn, or Facebook as we’re keen to see how businesses are adapting in their own unique ways.


More Online Resources to Help your Business Fight COVID-19:

Why Google Ads still Works Wonders during a CrisisDuring a crisis, your natural instinct is to view paid Google Ads as an unnecessary expense, but here’s proven reasons why AdWords is now a significant marketing opportunity, even during a global pandemic.

Inspiration From Central Coast Businesses Dealing With COVID-19
Despite the limiting reality of COVID-19, we’re hugely motivated by the fighting spirit of Central Coast businesses already trying these simple yet effective marketing ideas.

JobKeeper Program: 3 Important Considerations For Businesses
Australia’s JobKeeper program guarantees some security for small to medium businesses, but have you considered these 3 important aspects for the next 6 months?

Has COVID-19 Changed The Customer Journey Forever?
There is no ‘business as usual’ with the customer journey profoundly changing due to COVID-19. Keep up by moving from old activities to these new opportunities.

7 Ways Marketing Can Help Your Business Survive COVID-19
Practical advice and ideas on how to adapt your business and continue advertising products and services to stay healthy during a global crisis.

Adapting To COVID-19: Video & Tech Tools For Business
Innovate your business overnight by introducing our top recommended digital tools and video technology to your business and daily remote routine.

Has COVID-19 Changed the Customer Journey Forever?

credit card with new opportunity

There’s no doubt COVID-19 has changed the world forever. We all couldn’t be any further from ‘business as usual’. To survive (and possibly thrive), businesses need to adapt to a new style of customer journey. Businesses must now reconsider how customers can purchase from them.

Most of us are effectively in lockdown. So how do we continue to buy stuff? What stuff do we need to buy? And most significantly – how do we actually get it?

With the fear of transmission, most brick and mortar stores have now shut, with some pivoting to ‘takeaway-only’ options. Most services we are used to are severely restricted with human contact reduced to a minimum.

So what does all this mean for the ‘Customer Journey’?

How does it impact the way people will buy now and in the future?

The most pressing focus for a business right now should be how to adapt to meet this new journey, especially after the Australian government just announced the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Ultimately, us business owners are faced with two decisions:

a) Change our operations for the foreseeable future

b) Just stick our head in the sand.

Although the outcome of either choice is unclear, the real unknown here is – how long will this thing last?

If the hold of COVID-19 on business operations is only for a couple of months (optimistically speaking), there’s not much to change, we just need to hold on.

But, if we consider the impact of a 6-month period, or even longer (there’s the pessimist), we need to start thinking strategically about how we can continue to work without exposing ourselves, or our customers, to COVID-19. This creates a huge change to the customer journey we were working by only a month ago.

 

The Old Customer Journey

Let’s start with a flashback to what the traditional 5-step customer journey looked like before COVID-19.

At the core of every purchasing decision is an underlying need – a problem to solve. This issue needing a resolution could be physical or emotional. Your car may need a service as it’s making a funny sound. You may need to buy some chocolate as you feel like you deserve a little treat. You might have just used the last square of toilet paper and need a new roll.

old customer journey infographic

  1. Awareness – At this stage, an individual grows aware of a problem they need to solve. This could be quite obvious, as perhaps they have a blocked drain (problem) and need a way of unblocking it (solution). Or this could be more gradual, and they become aware of a solution to a problem they didn’t even realise they had. Perhaps your friend shares an app that tracks their daily calorie intake and health, causing you to immediately think, “I sooo need that”.
  2. Consideration – The individual looks at multiple solutions and decides which is right for their situation.
  3. Purchase – The individual actually makes the purchase and becomes a customer.
  4. Experience – This includes both the shopping experience and what happens after they purchase the product or service.
  5. Loyalty – This is when the customer continues to make repeat purchases in the future.

Take a look at your business right now – are your customers still there, and what does their current journey look like?


The New Customer Journey

Funnily enough, the new customer journey looks just like the old one. The journey itself hasn’t actually changed. We all still go through the same, natural phases in our mind and on our route to purchasing a product or service. What has profoundly changed is how we move through that journey.

The new customer journey involves a change in interactions at each step for the foreseeable future. Possibly forever. This will impact your business whether you’re a:

  • Brick and mortar stores
  • Online retailers
  • Service providers(such as a trade service or gym)
  • Sole traders

new customer journey infographic


Step 1: Awareness

The process of an individual becoming aware of a problem has now completely changed. Only a month ago, we used to venture out of the home and experience things. We used to physically interact with the world around us. We used to see people! For now, we are mostly confined to our household with minimal outside interaction.

This severely limits the possibility of new experiences.

Old School Marketing options that may enjoy a resurgence in this situation include:

  • Billboards
  • Road signs
  • Vehicle signs
  • Print ads
  • Letter box drops

However, the current climate also makes it easy to grow awareness through New Marketing Activities including:

Action

How can potential customers find you today? What you can do to make it easier for them? Start developing a presence on your choice of the above New Marketing Activities. Many of them are free to join.


Step 2: Consideration

How do customers weigh up their options during COVID-19? How do they even know what options are available?

Perhaps this is one of the most dramatic changes to the traditional customer journey – we simply don’t have the luxury of multiple options (particularly if the competition is slimming or disappearing). With fewer alternative products or services to consider, comes great news for businesses staying afloat.

Old Paths to Consideration:

  • Printed Directories
  • Yellow Pages
  • In store

New Paths to Consideration:

  • Social Media channels
  • Google Search results
  • Online directories
  • YouTube and video platforms

Action

Are you making it easy for customers to find you at the consideration stage? As customers can’t stroll into your store any more, you need to bring your store to their home. Is there a way you can help them to see, touch or feel your products? Video is a great solution for this. Video content can give your customers incredible insight into specific products and how they will solve their problem.


Step 3: Purchase

Brick and mortar stores have now essentially been asked to shut for health and safety reasons. Those that haven’t shut will likely close their physical store soon as their customers migrate online. For the next few months at least, it’s no longer an option for people to purchase in store, and it’s definitely not a smart option for businesses to plan around this.

Old Purchase Options:

  • Pop in store to browse and buy
  • Pick up or collect at store
  • Pay in person with cash or card

New Purchase Options:

Due to the change in circumstances and in store availability, online shopping is seeing a boom. More customers are forced to browse for products via online shopping platforms, even for the bare essentials.

Action

Looking at your business model, list how people can still make purchases from you. If you have never dipped your toe into the world of online stores and e-commerce, now is the best time to explore. How can you change the way you sell to make it easy for customers to purchase? What guarantee can you give them that buying from you won’t put them at risk to COVID-19? Find a way that makes it unlikely for them to say “no” when buying. Find a way to deliver your product or service to them online, touch-free.

 


Step 4: Experience

While many items can simply be ordered online and shipped to customers, delivering a service is a whole new challenge during this global pandemic. Many businesses have to completely re-engineer how they deliver services and how they can solve problems for customers going forward.

Old Customer Experience

Provide a product or service to the customer in person.

New Customer Experience

Zero touch. Next to no interaction. Products left at our door step. Services completed in isolation and post-service disinfection essential. Information products delivered remotely.

Action

How can you continue providing your products or services while also keeping your customers, staff, and yourself safe? Consider if this is possible. Coronavirus will be impeding on ‘business as normal’ for some time. We need to work together to develop alternative ways to deliver our physical services, without transmitting the virus.


Step 5: Loyalty

As they say, it’s a lot cheaper to keep a customer than to try and attract a new one. At the end of the customer journey sits the ultimate goal – to create a loyal, repeat purchasing customer. Finding the most effective way to keep in touch with customers and encouraging them to continue doing business with you is challenging at the best of times. But with COVID-19? Nurturing this step of the customer journey is more crucial than ever.

Old Channels to Grow Loyalty

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Events
  • Word of mouth
  • Loyalty discounts or physical cards

New Channels to Grow Loyalty

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Online Customer Accounts
  • Payment Plans
  • Future Discounts

Action

How can you continue to stay “top of mind” to your existing customers during COVID-19? Can you find a clever way to keep them coming back? How can you transform them into an ambassador for your brand and encourage them spread the word digitally?


The Real Digital Revolution

The customer journey structure remains exactly the same as ever. What has profoundly changed is how people interact with businesses and information throughout that journey.

Many traditional marketing and service delivery options are no longer relevant, or even possible. If we thought the 90s and the 00s ushered in the ‘digital revolution’ – we haven’t seen anything yet.

The next 3-6 months are going to see a dominating move to digital in almost every way we interact with businesses. It’s the businesses who adapt to this mass migration who will ultimately thrive.

 


More Online Resources to Help your Business Fight COVID-19:

Why Google Ads still Works Wonders during a CrisisDuring a crisis, your natural instinct is to view paid Google Ads as an unnecessary expense, but here’s proven reasons why AdWords is now a significant marketing opportunity, even during a global pandemic.

Inspiration From Central Coast Businesses Dealing With COVID-19
Despite the limiting reality of COVID-19, we’re hugely motivated by the fighting spirit of Central Coast businesses already trying these simple yet effective marketing ideas.

5 Ways Your Marketing Strategy Can Cope With Social Distancing
Social distancing is changing the way consumers buy. It’s now up to business managers and owners to change their marketing to help people, not sell to them.

JobKeeper Program: 3 Important Considerations For Businesses
Australia’s JobKeeper program guarantees some security for small to medium businesses, but have you considered these 3 important aspects for the next 6 months?

7 Ways Marketing Can Help Your Business Survive COVID-19
Practical advice and ideas on how to adapt your business and continue advertising products and services to stay healthy during a global crisis.

Adapting To COVID-19: Video & Tech Tools For Business
Innovate your business overnight by introducing our top recommended digital tools and video technology to your business and daily remote routine.

7 Ways Marketing can Help your Business Survive COVID-19

wilson the survivor

“There is no playbook for times like these.”  – Joshua Spanier, VP of Global Media at Google

As a digital marketing agency on the Central Coast, we know how to help SMEs thrive online… But what if the fight for first place on Google mutates – overnight – into a fight to simply keep your business alive? Things are certainly very odd at the moment, but there are a few measures you can take today to give your business the best chance of survival.

As normal society comes to a grinding halt, your natural instinct is to think the smartest (and only) course of action is to freeze all your marketing and advertising spend to protect your cash flow. Unfortunately, this is possibly the worst thing you can do to your brand right now. There’s a better choice.

To minimise the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business, choose to maximise your marketing efforts during this challenging time. This doesn’t mean spend more, it simply means stay active. Following the GFC in 2008, many businesses who continued to invest in marketing spend actually emerged from the storm in a good position.

Avoid the pressure to give up and sink into the next few months with your hands in the air, missing the opportunities right under your nose. We’re happy to share some of the approaches we are actively applying to our clients’ businesses over the next few months. We hope this free advice on how to stop coronavirus impacting your business helps you find your position in the altered marketplace.

1. Build Brand Awareness

Consumers may be locking down and spending less during the turbulent landscape COVID-19 has stirred up, but they are still looking for content to consume their attention. If you’re worried your customers are going to stop buying, focus on building your brand’s reputation during this crisis.

Reducing your spend on advertising irrelevant products or specialist services makes sense, but investing in keeping your brand’s visibility at the forefront of the future customer’s mind is a smart move at this time. As the coronavirus forces communities to isolate themselves physically, maintain a strong presence digitally, especially on social media, to ensure your business won’t sink into the abyss.

Use this odd time to reconnect with your stressed, disorientated audience through thoughtful, emphatic, well-placed content. Customise your content to this situation. As people spend more time at home, and screen time shoots through the roof, ensure you’re there to offer visitors something valuable. Whether this is a downloadable ebook, ‘How To’ guide, listicle, or checklist, the goal is always the same: create value.

Build brand awareness through email marketing. If your business is not on top of this platform already, now is an ideal time to set up a regular, automated newsletter to keep existing customers updated and attract new subscribers.

Work on publishing branded, value-adding content that gathers lists for:

  • Social Media Retargeting
  • Google Retargeting
  • Email Marketing

The more leads you gather throughout the next few months of social isolation, the greater audience you will have waiting for you on the other side of this pandemic. Save the strong sales messages for then, when people’s confidence to buy is filtering back into daily life.

2. Pivot to Profit

You must learn how to pivot your operations – daily. By pivoting, we’re not suggesting your bottomline will profit from this pandemic, but instead adapt your messaging and operations now for the long-term benefit of your business.

To run a business that survives COVID-19, temporarily change the way you sell your services and how your product is delivered. This is a non-negotiable. Many companies will panic at the thought of digitising, or losing footfall in their store, but those who embrace moving to digital platforms will ultimately have a better chance of getting out of this with minimal pain.

For example, our client runs a dance school for children, but are now rethinking their delivery method and quickly making the move to offer classes online. This decision has the potential to grow their local online dance school to a business 10x its current status, offering kid’s dance classes via a low-cost online platform to Australia and the wider world.

Examples of pivoting during this pandemic:

  • Remote video quotes or client calls using platforms like Skype or Zoom (for external tradies, lawyers or journalists)
  • Payment plans, rather than payment upfront
  • Virtual tours (ideal for real estate agencies)
  • Contactless delivery guarantees (ideal for food services or online shopping)
  • Online courses, service delivery or training (can your service be delivered online?)

3. Strategy over Short-term Panic

Humans are shocking long-term planners, which isn’t ideal in the current climate. Many small business owners are panicking and we can see firsthand the distress the market uncertainty is having on SMEs, business owners and marketing managers. They need to find a way to turn customers into advocates.

If your cash flow is taking a hit, the last thing you want to think about is giving more money away. Yet, offering customer discounts to stimulate demand and attract new interest is actually one of the best steps to keep your business afloat. Alongside providing an epic service, of course!

Although there is no visible end-date to the coronavirus pandemic in the short-term, business owners need to think ahead, strategically. We’ve already started conversations with our clients about long-term plans and marketing strategy to get through this together. This includes reviewing their current products and campaigns to reconsider what is relevant, where to innovate, and where budgets can be shifted for the next few months.

Businesses could consider offering:

  • Discount incentives offering customers “20% OFF now” with the remainder due when they can pay
  • Free delivery where possible
  • Large discount on a future purchase (once the virus settles)

4. Increase your Share of Voice

Platforms that are usually flooded may suddenly have some breathing space. Your message is more likely to stand out with fewer paid ads online, as many businesses retract their marketing spend. If you’re clever with your tone and positioning, the messages you put out to the public during this “downtime” are more likely to be remembered when the world starts actively advertising again. You have an opportunity to increase your ‘Share of Voice’ on social media and search engines at a lower cost.

5. Champion your Website (finally)

You are presented with the time to finally work on that long list of digital projects that always get sidelined in the daily grind of the office. Meetings, water cooler talk, client briefings, commuting… suddenly these are removed from the equation. Website improvements, upgrades or total rebrands can now be actioned with zero physical contact with the outside world. Web developers, designers and copywriters are all just a phone call (or video call) away.

If you are an online entrepreneur, this is an opportunity for you to shine. Your business is still visible to your audience, and you may even see a boost in traffic as the majority of the public move their attention online, for long periods. If you are not online, or unhappy with the state of your current website, this is your green light to use the next few months to finally get your business website sorted.

6. Value-added Content

Produce and publish relevant content that adds value to your customer’s experience with your brand.

  • Are you an arts and crafts supplier who can offer tips to entertain the kids at home? 
  • Are you a plumber with advice on how to set up the best hand washing station possible? 
  • Are you a bush tucker expert with a great recipe for homemade antibacterial sanitiser? 
  • Are you a dance school who can still offer community classes via an online platform?

Educational content is likely to be in high demand throughout the period of social isolation, as people have more time to spend browsing, reading and absorbing content than ever. The majority of headlines are dominated by end-of-the-world-esque apocalyptic news, so appearing in this space with content that is lighter can benefit your brand. Think quizzes, polls, Q&As. Be a voice in these uncertain times that offers ideas and solutions rather than resignation.

7. Think and Act Local

It’s vital to support our local businesses on the Central Coast. It’s also a good move to target your marketing to your local audience, as we see tourism, hospitality, events and retail industries disappear from the forefront of daily life for a few months.

Brainstorm ways to innovate the way you appeal to your local audience. Our team have already seen opportunities including:

  • Driveway yelling / shouting / singing (verbal advertising)
  • Contactless letterbox drops
  • Online exercise classes / programs
  • Balcony DJs.

Joshua Spanier, VP of Global Media at Google, raises the importance of considering local context when marketing in this uncertain time. In his article, Spanier draws our attention to context when creating paid ads on search engines, as your content will likely appear alongside dramatic news stories.


What’s on your Digital Marketing Wishlist?

We’re not suggesting you capitalise or profit on other people’s fear. We’re actively putting our disinfected hands on your shoulders, and turning you away from staring into that dark, endless black abyss the coronavirus may look like in the media, and pointing you toward the horizon of opportunity that sits before your business.

There are likely a handful of parked website projects that have never been a priority, but now can finally have the time and attention they deserve. You don’t need a huge budget to run an advertising campaign online – all you need is a smart, targeted strategy, an internet connection, and an active digital marketing agency who specialise in working remotely.


More Online Resources to Help your Business Fight COVID-19:

Why Google Ads still Works Wonders during a CrisisDuring a crisis, your natural instinct is to view paid Google Ads as an unnecessary expense, but here’s proven reasons why AdWords is now a significant marketing opportunity, even during a global pandemic.

Inspiration From Central Coast Businesses Dealing With COVID-19
Despite the limiting reality of COVID-19, we’re hugely motivated by the fighting spirit of Central Coast businesses already trying these simple yet effective marketing ideas.

5 Ways Your Marketing Strategy Can Cope With Social Distancing
Social distancing is changing the way consumers buy. It’s now up to business managers and owners to change their marketing to help people, not sell to them.

JobKeeper Program: 3 Important Considerations For Businesses
Australia’s JobKeeper program guarantees some security for small to medium businesses, but have you considered these 3 important aspects for the next 6 months?

Has COVID-19 Changed The Customer Journey Forever?
There is no ‘business as usual’ with the customer journey profoundly changing due to COVID-19. Keep up by moving from old activities to these new opportunities.

Adapting To COVID-19: Video & Tech Tools For Business
Innovate your business overnight by introducing our top recommended digital tools and video technology to your business and daily remote routine.

Central Coast Leagues Club Fitness | Remote Marketing Team

gym equipment

Client

Central Coast Leagues Club Fitness (CCLCF) based in Gosford CBD.

Client Background

The Central Coast Leagues Club is conveniently located in Gosford CBD, alongside our region’s waterfront football stadium, commuter train network and the beautiful Brisbane Water. CCLF is the Coast’s “one stop shop” for fitness, health and wellness activities. As a regional gym, their aim is to help members on their individual fitness journey by providing the correct advice and access to state of the art facilities. 

The Problem

This local fitness focused business approached us for help achieving 3 main business goals:

  1. Increase gym membership – requires an Acquisition Strategy
  2. Improve member retention 
  3. Engage with their existing members better

We determined these objectives made it best to work with their General Manager directly, in an advisory capacity. This means Oddball essentially act as their remote-yet-connected Marketing Team each month.

The Oddball Approach

We lined up the existing marketing opportunities available to the gym, and brought their management under our wing to begin attracting new leads immediately.

At the start of our relationship, Team Oddball delivered the following for CCLF:

  1. Produced a branded monthly e-newsletter (EDM) to engage with their existing audience
  2. Created promotional material for 1000x 7-Day Free Gym Passes to attract new prospective members
  3. Built the infrastructure for prospective members to easily download a free pass online
  4. Targeted Social Media Advertising to attract new members, with Audience Types most likely to use their gym

The free passes were a particular win for this client, as we suggested minimising cost by creating downloadable passes, rather than printed ones. This digital free pass also allowed for the net to be cast a lot wider to attract new visitors.

Social media advertising opened up the entire regional Central Coast area for this client to offer their exclusive free pass. With our Social Media Strategist’s guidance, this client was now able to target social campaigns to their typical audience type and demographic, including people on the Central Coast who may be interested in Group Classes or Creche.

The highlight of our foundational work with this client is the Acquisition Strategy we developed. As one of the gym’s main aims when coming to us (the aim of any gym really), was to attract new members. We needed a thorough and effective plan to make this happen. At Oddball, we’re not the type to guess or feel our way in the dark!

Our Acquisition Strategy included designing and producing marketing collateral that promoted:

  • The facility of the gym (the physical space and what it offered visitors)
  • Free trials available for new members
  • Gathering testimonials for social proof
  • Generating aspirational content to engage and inspire

The Oddball Effect

By working directly alongside our client’s General Manager in an advisory role, Oddball hit home runs on the initial goals:

  • 600+ “Red-hot” leads (not “good-looking” people, but valuable, viable prospective members!)
  • 304x Net New Members
  • Engagement of existing members through email and social media campaigns

These results show great promise for the work we’re championing for this fitness industry client:

35% Open Rate on email newsletters – well above the industry average
154% increase in existing membership – 300+ New Members added to total 1000 Members

We now regularly work with this fitness industry client to produce:

  • Unique content for monthly email newsletters
  • Seasonally update and print large Gym Timetables
  • Design and print promotional brochures
  • Ongoing targeted social media management and advertising

 

This client case study is a great example of how we can efficiently act as a remote “Marketing Team” resource to business owners, brand managers, or sales teams. This is a smart investment (and cheaper than a manager salary) for those who need to run their operations more efficiently, but still maintain a strong online presence. If you want to talk about this option for your company, get in touch for a chat.

Wealth Advisory Group | Marketing & Communication Strategy

office meeting room with single red chair

Client

This Sydney-based client came to us from the financial services industry. They needed a holistic marketing and communications strategy clarified and their ideal target customer redefined in order to move forward as a business. Their main objective was to grow trust in their brand.

*Due to the details we share in this case study, we’ve withheld our client’s name for privacy reasons.

Client Background

This client specialises in the creation of wealth for Australians. And at Oddball, we specialise in defining marketing strategies and campaigns that generate real results. Working together with this client, the initial priority was to define their audience and reframe their marketing plan to target that audience. The client wanted us to build a strategy that could increase their turnover by 100% over the next three years.

Their brand’s unique asset was its ability to dispense personalised financial guidance to customers in the areas of mortgages, property, conveyancing, legal, business, accounting, asset management, insurance and more. We knew the focus should be on how to best communicate this through a tailored communication strategy.

The Problem

While the client had a clear vision of where they wanted to be, there was a massive blank space between their current position and how they planned to get to their goal. The client didn’t have a holistic marketing strategy or overall plan in place. Before producing one, their current audience needed redefining and their strengths as a business needed to be identified. 

The next hurdle to tackle was the disconnect between the financial services they offered and their clients. On closer inspection, we saw that one of their main strengths as a business was the ability to align a client’s lifestyle with a relevant financial advisor – but this was not being adequately communicated in their marketing. We needed to help them outline a robust communication strategy, including the best channels to market and an execution plan.

The Oddball Approach

To start work on a client’s marketing strategy, we always sit down with them and lay everything out in the open. Less of a workshop, more of a conversation. We get a clear, transparent idea of where our client is, and where they want to be. This objective, external review of a brand is extremely valuable if you’re struggling to get perspective on what makes you unique, and what to take to market!

After conducting research into the client’s brand, we confirmed their focus audience was Small to Medium Business Owners (SMEs). Next we needed to identify their business’ strengths and unlock the value perception of their customer.

As part of our approach, we assessed a series of essential criteria to choose the best way forward. We’ve spent years perfecting this particular document, pouring our team’s collective insight into it generously. It’s one of our most valuable assets as a marketing agency! We give our client’s complete access to this ‘Playbook’ as part of the collaborative process of building a plan that works (and doesn’t sit on the shelf collecting dust).

For this particular client, we focused on exploring several key areas of that strategic marketing document:

  • Market analysis (PESTLE / Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal & Environmental)
  • Customer / audience clarification
  • Customer segment potential: WHO and WHERE are they?
  • Defining USPs (unique selling points)
  • Persona building (produce an image of their customer type)
  • Buyer journey and the path to purchase
  • Buyer’s remorse (ask us what this means, it’s important)
  • Decision criteria: average spend, product price, convenience, stress?
  • Risk Mitigation: remove reasons for customers to say no
  • Competition: who else is out there doing the same thing?
  • Tiered list of competitors for client reference: similar to loosely linked companies
  • Channels to market
  • Content opportunities.

The Oddball Effect

Defining Personas

One of the most valuable elements of producing a marketing strategy for this client was building personas. This was mainly for their team to reference going forward, allowing them to shape their efforts around tangible “people” that we created in the image of their core audience. They had a checklist of the pain points to solve.

Main pain points of their target audience were:

  1. Wanting an actual person to talk to
  2. Receiving conflicting advice from multiple ‘experts’
  3. Time-poor and not knowing who they need to talk to

This insight opened up an opportunity for our client to own that space and solve these pain points as one of the core offerings of their service.

Understanding the Customer’s World

To help our clients stand out in the market, we generate a greater idea of the world they exist within. The completed Marketing Playbook we offer paints a great outline of their “world”. This includes who their audience is, where they can access and appeal to that audience, and how they can shape that interaction through future marketing.

Defining Channels to Market

Through our comprehensive research into this client’s brand positioning potential, we determined the most viable channels they could market their brand and services included:

  1. Website refresh
  2. Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube
  3. AdWords and remarketing campaigns.

Next Steps

Our work with this client aimed to provide them with a practical execution plan they could move forward with. We like to call this our ‘Marketing Playbook’. It includes all the above mentioned elements rolled into one easy-to-use package.

Armed with professional guidance on the industry landscape, audience, channels, business strengths and content production opportunities, this client confidently moved forward with marketing their business. They also commissioned us to completely overhaul their website. Watch this space!

BEFORE YOU GO

Your Essential Guide to Marketing Post COVID-19

Emerge from the grip of COVID-19 with momentum. Future-proof your business now for unseen crises. Make it easier than ever for customers to find you.