Red Hot Thoughts: It’s time to open the door to your future marketing strategy
With government lockdown restrictions further eased and ‘normality’ resuming, it is important that eCommerce brands bounce back and return both stronger and smarter. Brands must take time to understand what they have learned and potentially realign to better prepare for the future. The priority must be to boost both lifetime value and customer experience as well as delivering a meaningful return on digital marketing.
Furthermore, whilst unfortunate, that some brands will not have survived this period, it opens opportunities for others to move in quickly and fill the void. Therefore, don’t be afraid to plan big in the next few months, as the economy begins its recovery.
Today the Red Hot Penny team provide advice on what to consider with your digital marketing post lockdown.
Andrew Boreham, Head of PPC advises to start by filling your funnel. “It’s likely a fair majority of your previously loyal customers would now in usual circumstances be considered ‘lapsed’, particularly if you’ve had to pause all activity whilst in lockdown. If that is the case, then utilise awareness channels more so than usual, using more awareness focused activity such as Paid Social, Display and YouTube (if you have video assets available). This will be key in re-engaging customers who have used your business before, as well as also encouraging new customers simultaneously.”
Furthermore, Andrew also suggest that now is the time to rebuild your remarketing as this will impact performance at the bottom of the funnel too. “If you have previously been using short time frame remarketing audiences (<30 days), it is likely these are empty or at least heavily reduced.”
“Ensure these are in a position to be filled again and look to use wider time ranges if you already have access to them to have an audience strategy in the interim period. This is particularly important in the case of brands who have strong reseller/wholesale activity, as it’s likely your wholesaler will have audiences available given their wider product portfolio.”
In addition, if you have been paused and you are looking to re-activate, as tempting as it may be, don’t just enable your campaigns with the previous bidding strategy! Whether you are using automation or manual bidding, it is likely your old bids are not currently fit for purpose. Take into consideration the lack of audience data, and if you are on automation, bear in mind the algorithm will be using pre-COVID learnings, so consider manual control for at least the first few weeks.
Finally, do not just re-activate your ad copy! “Call out the changes you’ve made to be COVID compliant (PPE, social distancing etc.). Whilst it may seem obvious, if a competitor is appearing and not stating their compliance, it may give you the edge in a time where consumers are seeking assurance.”
Carl Brooks, Head of SEO believes that brands should start by ensuring that they are thinking about and listening to their customers and users, ensuring they have the site set up as a user would expect with new information on their stores and services.
“One of the things that has become obvious is the need to keep their Google my Business accounts up to date with correct information, there have been occasions where store opening hours, client services etc. are inaccurate and causing frustration from users, especially with so much change to the lockdown rules happening at the moment.”
Finally, ensuring that they have adequate staffing levels to deal with enquiry levels is extremely important with companies still navigating furlough. “There is an uplift in negative reviews happening now due to customer services communications not being adequate and leaving users frustrated. Negative reviews are a bad signal to search engines and they will result in lower trust.”
Last but certainly not least, Claire Warne, Paid Media Manager, advises brands to communicate internally before making any decisions. “You may be understandably keen to ramp up your marketing activity again, particularly if you have been through a quieter period and you’re now under pressure to hit targets. But before you start trying to make up for lost time, check with other departments that they are ready to support this. Do social distancing procedures mean that delivery will be slower than usual? Are there issues in your supply chain? Is your customer service team still working through a backlog of enquiries? It might be better to start off with some brand awareness campaigns so you don’t overwhelm internal teams and you don’t risk harming your customer experience.”
She further advises brands to explain to your customers what steps you are taking to keep them and your staff safe in a factual, reassuring tone. Facebook has introduced new page functionality to make it easier to communicate temporary service changes.
And finally, it is important to understand social media offers a unique opportunity to have conversations at scale with your customers. “As well as telling them what your plans are, you can also seek their feedback and use this to inform your plans. This is an unprecedented situation, and nobody knows for certain what the best way to react is – this is an opportunity for agile brands to thrive.”