The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work, at least for the foreseeable future if not permanently. When businesses went remote, morning and evening commutes vanished overnight. And when schools went remote, parents faced a whole new kind of workday balancing the kids and work at home. Some moved their work up into the early mornings, while others opted to catch quiet time for concentration late at night.
When your prospects’ and customers’ personal schedules changed, so did your optimal advertising schedule. Morning and evening drive times are no longer considered premium spots for radio. Daytime TV and over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms may now be better plays compared to the evening cable prime time. Billboards in once-busy destinations might not be so visible anymore without visitors. Navigating it all as a business or marketing leader can be as challenging as navigating the pandemic itself. Here are a few step-by-step tips to align your media buys with the current times and lifestyle habits.
Modify Your Budget
First, analyze your yearly budget and ask yourself with each line item how COVID has impacted that advertising channel. Should your budget for a given line item be increased, decreased, steady, or shifted? For example, if your company attends a large annual trade show that has been cancelled or postponed, that may be a large chunk of money back into your budget for other channels such as digital advertising.
Expand Your Advertising Hours
Many studies show that people are working longer hours during the pandemic. Consider expanding your campaign times to start earlier and run later. With radio and TV especially, a general or flexible buy will often come with discounted rates, so you can be seen more for less.
COVID created an extremely difficult time for everyone and, in turn, a delicate time for brand messaging. Hurry-in giveaways and limited-time sales might not be the best look for brands right now, as these events often create crowds. Whether you are advertising for a promotion or brand awareness, be sure to dedicate a portion of the message to the safety measures you are taking for your customers.
As the pandemic begins to subside and life returns to a new normal, it is a pivotal time to have the very best version of your brand in place. Use this window to audit your marketing materials, update your brand, refine your messaging, reposition your service offerings, and do the little things that convert customers coming to you from an ad. Here’s a simple, but significant one: Does your website function properly on smartphones and tablets? Use this free tool to find out.
The good things your customers say about you go a lot further than the good things you say about yourself. Encourage your past and current customers to leave reviews on your most visible online listings sites. More and more prospective customers are basing their decision on these reviews, particularly in an environment where they might not be able to meet you in person prior. You can also use reviews as testimonials on your website and in your advertisements.
Get Serious About Social
It’s one thing for your company to post every now and then on social media. It’s an entirely different thing to have a true social media strategy with consistent, ongoing content. The latter enables you to tap into community groups and networks where people are looking for recommendations involving your services. A well-rounded social media strategy goes beyond simply publishing content, placing equal emphasis on engaging users, answering questions, and growing your following.
Dip Your Toes in Digital Advertising
The world of digital advertising can be overwhelming when you’re just getting started, but don’t let that deter you. With so many people working remotely, advertising online is essential. The beauty in it is that there are so many options available and the ad spend is scalable. Start small, see the results, and grow as you go. We’re here to help.