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At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one expected the amount of change that our everyday lives would go through. While the everyday person has been experiencing a change in their routine, so have businesses. It’s quite certain that businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, but how do they bounce back from it? By finding a solution to the deterrence of regular business operations, businesses will be able to get back on their feet and regain a sense of security.
1. Industries Hit the Hardest and Why
Almost every industry in the US has been affected by COVID-19 economically one way or another. No one really expected COVID-19 to be this detrimental to businesses, but as the numbers of illnesses increased, more restrictions were placed on businesses. The three industries that have suffered the most due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been restaurants, retail, and transportation/travel.
The first one that comes to mind is definitely restaurants, as their business somewhat revolves around contact. The specific reasons restaurants have been hurt are:
- Restaurants can’t operate as usual and may have to close temporarily.
- Very few have been able to do dining-in, which is the key component for most restaurants (besides fast food). While take-out is becoming an available option as places are opening up slowly, it still drives away customers who want that dine-in experience or don’t want to leave home at all.
- Food preparation has to be incredibly sanitary and precise to deter the spread of the virus. This definitely slows down the process, and while some restaurants are finding ways around it, it can be difficult to keep things 100% clean when it is mandatory. If someone gets sick because of the way your business is being run, that’s bad news.
- Certain suppliers are low in terms of food, as some food industries are impacted due to the virus as well, such as the meat industry. So, depending on the type of food served at the restaurant, some may have to limit their menu options or close completely, which hinders a lot of business.
As a result of these restrictions being put on restaurants, the amount of change in restaurants’ revenue has been at an all-time low.
|Date||Restaurant Revenue Change|
Another business that has a lot of physical contact involved is the retail business. But besides the physical contact part, there are many other reasons why this industry is being hurt.
- Large amounts of gatherings are prohibited. For pretty much every retail business, more customers are better, as that equates to more sales. But, since lots of retail businesses sell non-essential items (clothes, furniture, cars, etc.), they are pushed to either limit the number of customers or temporarily shut down.
- Customers are less likely to buy non-essential items at the moment. Since many people are losing their jobs and staying at home, they’re less likely to have money to spend for non-essential items, or even want to leave to get them. This results in less revenue for the business.
While restaurants and retail have been hit pretty hard, the transportation/travel industry can arguably be hurt the most. Less people are leaving the house, and even less are traveling to different states and countries. So, that results in an instant tank for this one.
This brings down the need for hotel stays as well, which hurts that industry. The amount of travel and tourism global revenue has lessened since 2019.
Since businesses are being hurt badly, there needs to be a way for them to bounce back. Simply waiting for everything to open up again isn’t an option. It’s shown that tons of people are turning to the Internet for their needs – and businesses are as well. Many businesses have been implementing digital marketing solutions into their marketing campaigns in order to bring traction to their brands.
2. What is the Solution?
But what exactly is a digital marketing solution? Digital marketing solutions are steps you take within a larger strategy to get to a marketing goal for your brand – digitally. This involves the use of social media, advertising, analytics, etc. Basically, you come up with a goal, such as finding a new target audience or getting more followers on social media, create a plan, and carry it out. There are various types of strategies that businesses have been using, especially during these times, so continue reading to find out.
3. Types of Digital Marketing Solutions
One strategy for businesses to consider is agile marketing. It involves getting out quick responses to what is going on in the world and creating advertisement campaigns at the right moment. While it sounds easy, it involves a lot of work, as being speedy and precise at the same time can be difficult. But, if done right, it can give your business a huge opportunity.
One business that has been utilizing this strategy is DoorDash. On March 20th, DoorDash released their #OpenForDelivery ad campaign, in which they showcased the many different restaurants that were available on their service. Not only was it a smart move, but the campaign was carried out at the perfect time. DoorDash kept the campaign going as well, releasing another #OpenForDelivery advertisement on April 1st, and continuing to today.
The next strategy involved is reassessing your business goals. This one involves some thought – you have to ask yourself, what do customers want at the moment, and what do they need to hear? To break it down, you need to adapt your goals to the current situation. For example, say your business’s goal is to bring people together. During this pandemic, you would need to remodel that goal to still sell your brand but encourage social distancing.
A real-life example of this strategy is Ford. Ford had a set of ad campaigns that were coming out in March, but they had to cancel them and change their plans. Instead of releasing a happy-go-lucky car ad, they instead put out a more serious ad that offered a helping hand to their customers. The ad stated that those impacted by COVID-19 that are leasing or financing through Ford can contact their support line for financial assistance on their car. Ford addressed the issue directly, which was more in touch with the pandemic.
If you are impacted by #COVID19 and you’re leasing or financing through Ford Credit, we’re here to help.
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) March 16, 2020
The last of these digital marketing solutions is probably the most simple – it’s staying connected with your customers. The last thing a business would want to do is completely shut down their contact. You have to keep your business running somehow, even if you can’t operate as per usual. Some ways to do this are:
- Keeping your website and social media updated. Let your customers know your plans and restrictions/guidelines. Don’t keep them in the dark.
- Send emails that carry weight, but don’t spam. You can let affiliates and subscribers know that you’re here to help, but no one wants to be bombarded with too many messages.
- Ask customers for ideas and suggestions. Listen to them and communicate.
- Try new things! If your physical business is closed at the moment, use social media to reach out to people or give them a sense of what’s coming next.
Staying connected with your customers is important for all businesses, including small ones. Tally Cat Cafe is a local business in Tallahassee, Florida that works with both animals and coffee. They have been updating their social media often to communicate during the pandemic. Before and upon closing, they let their followers know exactly what they were doing each step of the way and updated their website as well. To keep people interested in their business, they tried something new by running a kitten nursery in their cafe and posting about it on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
By implementing these core digital marketing solutions, businesses have been marketing in a new, different way, and have been gaining enough traction to stay afloat. As the state of the world may change, businesses can use these solutions as a way to gain leverage and carry on.