pr, marketing, content

How businesses can continue to market during the coronavirus lockdown

Laura Brockbank

2 April, 2020

In the last few weeks, life – and business – as we know it has changed beyond recognition. Coronavirus is threatening both our world’s health and economy, and consequently political and business agendas have changed dramatically.

This is being felt in every organisational area, including marketing and sales teams. With networking events postponed, meetings with prospects put on-hold, and marketing budgets under threat, the sales funnel can seem impossible to feed.

This is not the time, however, for marketing and sales activity to stop, but simply to pivot.

The UK government’s recent announcements to the public have been clear: stay inside, limit travel, work from home if you can. Instead of travelling for meetings and taking calls at the office, your prospects are at home.

While traditional forms of business activity may be curtailed, digital channels have skyrocketed. The specifics vary; Vodafone has reported internet usage has increased by more than 50 per cent, BT reports surges of 25-60 per cent, and Virgin Media’s daytime web traffic has allegedly more than doubled. The message, however, is clear: your customers – in fact everyone – are online right now.

People are utilising the internet for everything from work to socialising to researching their next purchase. In fact, the demand on home broadband services is so great that many remote workers are being advised to work flexible hours, and Ofcom has released tips for consumers to maximise their wi-fi capabilities

Now is the time to invest in and focus on inbound activity, from content marketing to PR as lead drivers, making sure you’re speaking directly to your audience on the internet, wherever they are. So, where are they?;

  • Social media: Campaign has reported on the recent spike in social media posts, with Reddit, too, revealing a surge in traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic. With consumers finding extra time on their hands, many are scrolling through social media to socialise, shop and learn. Your social media strategy should reflect this uptake, employing corporate and advocate accounts to promote relevant content and opinions. This approach should be less about selling and more about engaging.
  • News sites: as everyone anxiously keeps track of the news for coronavirus updates, national news sites are constantly being refreshed. We are finding that around 80% of national news coverage is focused on COVID-19 at the moment. PR is still relevant in this current climate – either to add something authentic to the conversation or to highlight important advances in the tech industry and beyond. Most importantly, we need to be measured, appropriate and sensitive. Outside of national news, the technology and vertical publications are much more business-as-usual and looking for good, high quality stories.
  • Webinars: these are attracting consistently large audiences as employees stranded at home look to continue learning and gaining insights with their peers. Webinars are a great way to share digestible information with potential prospects, and can help give your brand personality and familiarity.
  • Search engines: the uncertainty surrounding both the current and future climate has meant that more people are posing questions to search engines. In fact, Google trends shows how ‘business continuity planning’ spiked worldwide in March when the coronavirus outbreak escalated into a pandemic – revealing how expertise on data recovery and business continuity is in particular demand. Your business should measure and take note of similar data, shaping your content output to ensure you’re answering your prospects questions and working on your SEO strategy to keep you at the top of search engines’ pages.

Targeted marketing and PR can help your organisation to utilise these digital channels to showcase your work and expertise to the consumers who need to see it. Now is the time to build your content bank, using data to keep you and your output relevant. It could be demonstrating your company’s top tips on effective business continuity planning in a webinar, or a social media campaign on your organisation’s cloud product suite for remote working.

You want to become a trusted advisor for your clients and prospects. In this chaotic world – made even more disparate with the current coronavirus crisis – it’s important to adapt and keep pace with your audience. Marketing and PR help keep you connected with your current clients and opens doors to new ones. If you’re new to digital and content marketing, utilising platforms such as HubSpot can help guide you through and automate the process.

Ironically, with everyone at home and online, your audience is actually easier to reach than ever before: they’re just a click – or two – away.

If you’d like to speak to us about HubSpot or wider PR and Marketing strategies, get in touch!