The COVID-19 Lockdown proved to be a bane for marketers, startups, and big organizations alike and many businesses were on the edge of facing an absolute existential crisis. But as more and more people headed to the internet to connect whilst social distancing, we saw a silver lining.
Review, Reassess, Recover...
As malls, theatres, restaurants, and nearly all public places gradually open up, people, though out of quarantine, are still spending most of their time online. This has resulted in a slew of web traffic growth.
This increase in traffic has provided growth opportunities which if funneled in the right way can provide the stimulus that your business needs to recover from this pandemic.
Firstly- Review the stats
UAE saw screentime ruling ever since the lockdown happened. As per stats, UAE is at the top among all countries that carry the highest internet penetration. With a population of 9.83 million out of which there have been 9.73 active social media users in 2020.
Even if the lockdown’s lifted, the UAE audience is still hooked to their screens. As people seek to remain informed, the number of users on Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter all have soared up considerably ever since. In fact, during the lockdown, Whatsapp traffic in the UAE increased by 40%!
Secondly- Reassess the trends and the latent opportunities
The pandemic has shaped new trends amongst netizens. And with trends, arises ideas that individually, can be a springboard for multiple action plans.
- People want to help and are paying attention in order to be there in every way they can. A secret to getting your brand in the limelight is by wrapping your marketing campaigns around the trending topics and making efforts towards making a real value addition.
Who would have thought that Arab Fashion Council will join hands with the Dubai Health Authority to encourage and start something like the #thread4cause campaign? The campaign that encouraged Arab designers to use their skills and resources for providing health care workers with protective medical equipment shows how fashion brands can go beyond the industry to help in times of difficulty.
Here, brands have 2 things to keep in mind, firstly, if its products and services are malleable enough to help others amidst the pandemic. If not, remain active and try different ways to keep your users connected with you. Your audience needs to be aware that you are active even if the market situation gets tough.
Businesses that have shown care, understanding, and empathy have managed to capitalize on the situation. Since face-to-face interactions are not happening as much as before, brands are reaching out to those places where their customers are most active. Keeping all channels of communication open and active is extremely important to tap into the hidden opportunity reservoir.
A digital-first approach is part of the reassessment that is needed to survive in this pandemic situation.
Secondly, is it appropriate or does it add any real value? Then it’s the perfect moment to build your online presence by implementing social media marketing strategies. Shift the focus on adding value first, sales will follow later.
People want to connect more and are looking forward to connecting with everything and everyone. With stats reflecting changes in people’s search trends, become available for them to find you. This is the perfect time to really study your audience, and what’s a better way to do that than through digital marketing?
We only have to distance ourselves socially, not digitally. Get online and reconnect with those who you were to meet, a host that canceled event online, go live on Instagram, take polls, do Q&A’s with your audience, schedule live sessions, and more. Take advantage of people being more active on-screen than usual.
People want to entertain and engage- It’s alright if your product or service has nothing relevant to help with the pandemic. Engagement is the requisite here. For instance, people are playing more online games than usual. And so it’s no surprise that brands are leveraging the same for user engagement.
From offering engaging campaigns to the latest updates on facilities available during the lockdown, brands found engagement was the way to generate traffic, remain active, and also contribute to the difficult times in some way.
It’s a good time to track market trends, demands, and behavior changes in the consumers. Thanks to the agility of technology, businesses can craft creative and versatile content and marketing strategies that convey that your brand is there for them and can still help to make their lives easier.
People want to learn more and enroll themself in online courses. Being in quarantine gave people plenty of time, space, and ideas to focus on new things. A lot of people are now looking forward to learning something new to add to their repertoire.
Here’s what you can do- you can offer courses or sell your services in course-sized online packages that will add value to your customer base. Listing your course on platforms like udemy, Skillshare, and Courser will be really beneficial at this time. It will assist you to build a user base and brand authority.
- People want to watch what’s going on around, and so it’s the perfect time to invest in newer ways to connect with your audience be it through hosting a virtual event online, webinars, social media marketing, Video Marketing, YouTube, or leveraging tools like IGTV. Moreover, you can push your services, podcasts, and other online training sessions by taking advantage of free help available at this time.
Google’s offered free premium features of its Hangouts Meet while Microsoft increased the number of participants on a group call from four to nine. Microsoft also rolled out new features in Teams that can be fruitful for businesses, for instance, reaching contacts using Tags.
"With targeted communication using tags in Microsoft Teams, you can now organize users within your team based on attributes such as role, skill, or expertise. Once tags are applied, you can quickly and easily reach the right people," explained Annie Colonna, a software engineer at Microsoft Teams.
And thirdly- Recover
Now is the perfect time for many businesses to create a plan knowing the hardest challenges that one can face. Create a background for your business to tackle the modern challenges now that the quarantine is long over. For example, you can get your own website with robust content marketing and SEO services and start delivering your products on a new strategic note now that the trends and consumer behavior have shifted.
This will also give you a chance to build new communities online and let them know what you have to offer.
If you already have a website now is the best time to conduct a thorough website audit and plan a robust strategy to bounce back stronger than before.
What about you? What steps are you taking to make the most of the pandemic for your business?