How Marketing can adapt to the impact of the coronavirus so that your company emerges stronger from the crisis

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This article aims to help people with ideas of marketing approaches and strategies, demonstrating in practice how DR is doing and the main adaptability actions of the acquisition machine

The coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact around the world. We even launched the study Panorama PMEs: the impacts of Covid-19 and steps for the resumption in partnership with Endeavor Brasil and Pequenas Empresas Grandes Negócios, to understand the impact of Covid-19 on small and medium-sized companies in Brazil. What we have seen so far is that in more fragile economies that were still in the process of recovery, such as Brazil, the challenge is even greater.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) generate around 72% of the country’s jobs . In this pandemic scenario, these companies are facing numerous challenges: improving cash flow management, reinventing the business model to become digital and, above all, transforming the Marketing department – ​​which is essentially a cost center for a Marketing that is a predictable, scalable and sustainable revenue acquisition center.

The Digital Transformation  so talked about for years has accelerated quickly for many companies, generating not only an opportunity to generate revenue through channels that were not used before (paid media, email, SEO, etc.), but also an increase in competition.

And it is not only the job of entrepreneurs, but also of Marketing professionals, to take action to keep the economy moving, preserving jobs and companies with open doors for a faster economic recovery.

Unfortunately, there is no pandemic history in recent history that can show models or even accounts that provide the step by step that must be followed to reinvent and be prepared for further acceleration of growth.

Thus, this article by Blue World City aims to help people with ideas of marketing approaches and strategies in times of coronavirus, demonstrating in practice what was the strategy used by DR and the main adaptability actions of the acquisition machine.

What we see in the main acquisition channels

Email

In the current scenario, context is critical. As early as mid-March, we started to see variations in email performance indicators. It was a first sign that the way we communicated before would not work the same way in the face of all the changes.

You may also have noticed your inbox becoming even more crowded with companies trying to strengthen their relationship with you. Billions of emails were sent from RD Station  Marketing platform customers alone , reaching the same level as Black Friday.

However, the potential problem with all of this is: if you try to communicate with everyone in the same way, you’re not actually communicating with anyone .

Investing in Relationship Marketing  is the most appropriate – even more so at the moment – ​​and effective to humanize the brand. To be well executed, it is necessary to have relationship rules with your contact base, making targeted campaigns. Or, taking advantage of triggers from automation flows to not only communicate properly with your base, but also have customization at scale.

As an example, in 2019 alone, more than 2 million Leads were generated in our actions. Through our operation here at RD, we knew that Marketing Automation flows  had a 6x higher conversion rate compared to segmented campaigns (sent only for a clipping).

Therefore, we sought to understand if this was a particular behavior or if it extended to all our customers, regardless of the segment.

We pulled the stats of billions of emails sent in the last six months from all 17,000 RD customers and got the following result: while targeted campaigns perform 40% more than non-targeted campaigns, automation flows perform up to 400% better!

paid media

As the weeks passed and the crisis worsened, most companies made the decision to cut their marketing budget. Why invest in something that isn’t generating new customers for the company?

If I could give you an advice, it would be: keep investing in Marketing . The mistake is not in the budget, but in the wrong investment. Or even in the absence of an adequate set of tools to measure the return on your investment.

Surveys and studies on the latest economic crises (SARS, September 11, 2009 crisis) show that companies that maintain or increase their marketing budget during them are the ones that not only do better during the crisis, but also in the recovery that Follow.

As an example, here is an excerpt from a translated text referring to research by the International Journal of Business and Social Science:

“During the recovery, companies that reduced their spending during the economic crisis saw a 0.8% drop in profits, companies that maintained their spending had a 0.6% increase in profits, while companies that increased their spending in marketing during the recession saw an average increase of 4.3% in profit.”

There are several explanations for this, but the main reason is that marketing, when done well, brings a positive cash flow to the company. In other words, if the plan is carried out well, when investing R$5,000.00 in ads, it can generate 10/15/20 thousand reais in revenue. Taking or reducing this investment to “save” actually has a negative impact.

Keeping an eye on the metrics

A fundamental tip that companies need to put into their routines, instead of cutting investments, is to look at the metrics that prove Marketing results .

Through them, it is possible to look at each creative and each investment in advance, understanding if there are chances of losing money or if there is a possibility to reinforce a certain action.

This monitoring is even more important during a crisis, to maximize what is bringing returns, as opposed to reducing the wrong investment.

In addition, paid media became an even greater opportunity due to the following context:

  1. Several companies reduced their investments in paid media during the crisis;
  2. People are using the internet and social media more;
  3. The cost of ads work by supply and demand (auction);
  4. With fewer companies investing and with a larger audience available to receive Ads, the auction lowers its price;
  5. Result: CPLead (Cost Per Lead) will drop.

As an example, here is a graph showing a 40% reduction in Cost per Lead in this pandemic period.

Reducing Cost per Lead brings a variety of opportunities, such as:

  1. Bring more qualified Leads to the Sales team, focusing on those with a higher LTV/CAC (Lifetime Value / Acquisition Cost);
  2. Have top funnel strategies to grow your email base and start a relationship/nutrition with Leads who are not necessarily ready to buy your product now, but possibly will be in the future;
  3. Gain market share if you have an attractive offer. A Harvard Business Review article  highlights it’s easier to gain market share during downturns—especially if your competitors cut back on ad spending.

IF THE

Immediately, a drop in website traffic was seen in most industry sectors, as illustrated in the chart below:

Source: Neil Patel

For products or services that are most affected (tourism, events, ticket purchases, cars, etc.), it is likely that, after the scenario has stabilized, there will be a much higher volume of search. Thus, digital will have much more influence on the purchase decision now than before.

For less affected industries, such as software, such as RD, there was an impact in the first few weeks due to every change in people’s lives. However, it was temporary. There have already been signs of improvement in traffic both through adjustments in content production, which brought issues related to the new pains of the audience, as well as doing SEO optimizations.

The way to buy is changing. Your SEO strategy should also be revised for people’s new pains and doubts.

Rethinking SEO

For example, buying cars – which previously was possibly more influenced by a pushy salesperson – will now probably involve twice as many searches on manufacturers’ websites, on comparative blogs, on videos showing the performance of the car and its competitors, and much more .

This new buyer behavior not only changes the SEO strategy, but also the way the sale is made. We are already seeing some large Brazilian retailers redeploying the Sales team in online chat platforms, as in this Casas Bahia example:

With these changes, it is expected that the purchase journey time will be extended, as people consume more content to make a more conscious purchase (knowing more about the product, alternatives, etc.).

Like you, your prospects  will increasingly want to make sure they’re making the right choice when buying a product or service, especially for high tickets and longer sales cycles.

Increasing your Content Marketing efforts to help Leads throughout their journey can be a great opportunity to gain that confidence prospects  need at the time of purchase.

Summary of what we started to learn in acquisition channels:

  • CPLead  is falling ~40%
  1. Opportunity to increase Leads base with top funnel campaign.
  2. Bring more qualified Leads to the Sales team with a better LTV/CAC ratio.
  • Context is more important than ever
    1. Targeted campaigns perform 40% better than non-targeted campaigns.
    2. Automation flows perform 400% better than untargeted campaigns.
  • User behavior is different and you should revisit your SEO campaign
    1. Traffic dropped for most industries in the first few weeks, but the trend is for it to pick up and even increase in the medium term.

How did we learn and adapt our Marketing acquisition machine in times of coronavirus

We are going through a very difficult public health time. We have to be careful between the fine line of looking for opportunities and being opportunistic in this scenario. Even though it’s a small semantic difference, there is a big difference in practice and attitude.

Marketing professionals, in times of coronavirus, have the chance to act competently and ethically. We can have a positive impact not only on the perception and trust in the business as an institution, but also on the effort businesses are making to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus.

Several companies are doing these types of actions, such as:

  • Donations (food, hospital products, alcohol gel, etc.);
  • Free availability of products;
  • Creation of products/services for the most impacted sectors, etc.

Here  is a report with some actions. The question we must ask is:

“How can we be useful during this period?”

This article could be one of several that we see out there gourmetizing marketing actions in times of coronavirus, putting what had been the great “ hack ” of RD and how to do the same thing from tomorrow in your company. But it is far from that.

Every company has its ability to help its customers and prospects get  through this moment. Whether with content, exclusive offers or adapting your offer.

To find any opportunity leverage in your business, you’ll need two things:

  1. Do in-depth analysis that will help you understand what your greatest growth opportunities are;
  2. Consistency to perform your Marketing actions and constant evaluations to know what is and isn’t working.

This is marketing well. In a scenario like this, you’re going to need to be efficient with few but valuable actions!

Real-time tracking

Having a “real-time” monitoring of which marketing campaigns and actions are generating the most return is essential at this time. There is no longer any possibility of burning cash for actions that are clearly inefficient or with great return uncertainties, whether in the short/medium/long term.

There is no big hack  for a situation like the one we are in. What we need to understand is the answer to the following question:

“How can we be useful to each persona during this period?”

This is the first step towards achieving a  successful marketing strategy . That is, create content relevant to your audience. If you don’t have something useful to offer, no matter what your media budget or the size of your contact base, you’re going to spend money and you won’t get results .

We could spend hours with the team arguing and rambling about what are the pains and doubts our personas are going through right now and what would be the “new normal” regarding funnel conversion rates, sales cycle, etc.

But instead of working with the uncertain, why not use qualitative and quantitative data to get those answers?

Quantitative:

  • Email Marketing Fees ;
  • Landing Page Fees ;
  • Website traffic for each page;
  • Paid Media KPIs (CPA, CPC, CPM, etc);
  • Before and after funnel rates segmenting by some characteristics
    • B2B: company size, segment, position, etc.;
    • B2C: Age, gender, education level, city, etc.

Qualitative:

  • Open Google Trends  and search for the trend of some important words for your business;
  • Seek ways to find out what the audience’s main questions are through quiz, Q&A Webinars, phone interviews, etc.;
  • Search for ways to find out what are the main doubts/pains of our customers by compiling CS team reports, interviews, surveys, etc.;
  • Compile the main objections and descriptions of lost opportunities after the lockdown .

The main crutch you can use is: “but I have no data” or “my data is dirty”. Everyone has data that can be cleaned and that will bring a better path to follow with simple analysis, using Excel or Google Sheets (free).

It is important to remember that qualitative data is also given . You, at the very least, will have your customers’ phone and email, which will enable you to send emails or calls.

The first actions taken and the results

With the analyzes structured and being revised all the time, we knew that the scenario would be challenging. However, while there are many obstacles, countless opportunities for Marketing also open up.

Review the content planning, copies  and creatives of campaigns

Context is more important than everything. The best thing is that the digital medium allows you to speak to a mass of people in a personalized way. And whoever manages to work well with targeted content to help in this quarantine will certainly be able to bring positive results with this tip. Producing relevant content and delivering it to the right person has never been more important !

Talking about coronavirus, WHO indications or how it proliferates is not the best way to help generate more customers. You need to bring content where you  own the knowledge, linking it with the current context.

Understand your audience’s pains and doubts

Right in the middle of March, while we didn’t have many  conclusive insights quantitatively, we took several actions to help us redo all the planning for the next 60 days. Among them, we launched two webinars where the public could ask questions using Sli.do :

  • Q&A – How to minimize the impacts generated by quarantine in Marketing and Sales – webinar with André Siqueira and Vitor Peçanha answering the audience’s doubts about how to do Marketing in times of coronavirus;
  • Q&A – Social Networks in times of quarantine  – webinar with Carolina Lima and Estêvão Soares sharing best practices on how to use Social Networks in times of quarantine.

There were more than 450 questions and, of course, we couldn’t answer them all in 2 hours of webinar. However, it provided us with input for defining content planning and thus answering the rest of the audience’s questions.

Be your CRM’s best friend

Looking at the reasons for losing opportunities that did not buy and listening  to salespeople’s calls became more frequent (from one to two times a week) to help me understand the pains of Leads.

Of course, we already have a perspective on what these difficulties are and how our product can help, but nothing better than listening to have insights on how Marketing can help during this period.

Creating a list of these objections will help you understand what to answer for each question raised in the sales process. In this quarantine, whoever sells has to adapt to whoever buys, putting the customer at the center of any strategy .

In addition, this information that the salesperson enters into the CRM goes back in a structured way to RD Station Marketing and helps us to segment the basis for similar pains using specific nutrition streams.

This is important for proper communication, especially so that missed opportunities now become customers in the future.

Be Lean and don’t forget about analytics

Focus on analysis at this first moment, instead of going out doing several actions that are not talked about. What you least need right now is to be inefficient. With the discoveries that the analysis will bring, you can go on designing several tests and making the right decisions. Through these lessons, you will be able to reduce costs and have a more efficient operation.

For example, in relation to content production, it was necessary to produce content with different approaches and at a fast speed so as not to lose timing . A common mistake is to associate rich material with eBooks.

Taking advantage of simple-to-implement formats (calculator, simulators, webinars, quiz, etc.) helps you to be able to make these changes in the operation quickly and continue to generate value for your audience.

Look at acquisition channels

As already shown, changes in user behavior open up opportunities to optimize acquisition channels, such as:

  • Look for low conversion rate pages on your blog and optimize them;
  • Optimization of the “Member Get Member” referral campaign to indicate our Webinar weeks. In April alone, there were 5.5k Leads coming from this channel with a Cost Per Lead 10x lower than paid media on Facebook;
  • Readjust paid media strategies to take advantage of lower CPLead;
  • Optimize strategies to increase the participation of automation flows and, consequently, generate more opportunities;
  • Create the Telegram community  and have a new channel to receive exclusive content and interact with other companies with the same pains. Within a month, the channel is already the second largest source of opportunities coming from social media .

Monitor search trends

Although we had a drop in traffic at first, we started using Google Trends and our SEO tools to understand what people are feeling and what they are looking for on Google. Thus, we would be able to have a more complete notion about the environment and, based on that, know how to help.

Your audience doesn’t want to know what you think, they want to hear solutions to their daily problems .

Thus, analyzing growth trends, we started to produce and optimize existing posts focused on these new pains. As a result, we’ve seen a 40% increase in blog traffic and posts like this one about Zoom  went from 20 hits a day in January to peaks of 4000 hits a day in late March.

In addition, by increasing traffic and offering appropriate rich material on the blogpost – whether in a banner, form or pop-up – you can generate more conversions and opportunities for your funnel.

We don’t just look at content and channels.

This change in channel planning and optimization will help generate more sales, but by educating a market about Digital Marketing and Sales, we are able to genuinely help companies out of an unprecedented scenario.

I understand that it is our duty as a market leader to  provide resources that support you and your company throughout the journey:

  • RD Station Marketing Light Plan  for an even more affordable price

 

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