2020 has been a year of major upheaval for all of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, the way we work, and how we do business. We are witnessing layoffs and furloughs all around us because businesses are struggling to acquire new customers and serve existing ones. Marketing managers are frantically Googling ‘how to get more Instagram followers?’ or looking for more cost-effective (read free) ways to keep their businesses afloat.
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit every industry badly. The travel industry is hit the worst, being on the brink of losing an estimated 820 billion dollars. Overall, the virus is expected to cost the world economy $2.7 trillion. Businesses are facing a financial crisis they have never seen before. In such testing times, ‘adapt and survive’ is the only sustainable way out of this mess. Since people’s movements have become restricted, traditional offline channels have become obsolete. Businesses need to reinvent themselves and come up with innovative strategies to thrive in the digital medium.
Here are 11 free, low-hassle ways to reach out to your audience online during Covid-19:
- Leverage Your CRM/ Email List
Email marketing is the best $0 method to grow your customer base. You can design email campaigns to re-engage inactive users as well as activate new users to make a purchase decision. You can lock in your most valuable customers by giving them a cheaper, early-bird re-subscription offer for the next year. You can also incentivize existing leads who are on the fence by giving them a special Covid-19 discount. Make use of freemium email automation tools like Mailbluster that let you send 62k emails per month on the FREE plan.
- Content (Marketing) is King
With everyone sitting at home and spending more time online, this is the best time to supercharge your content game. Use Google Keyword Planner to find popular, high-volume, low-competition keywords in your domain, and create helpful blog posts around those keywords. For example, an ed-tech startup might create a blog series on ‘Effective Ways to Solve Doubts During Lockdown From the Comfort of Your Home.’ This costs next to nothing to create, but the potential upside in terms of subscribers is potentially unlimited.
- Update Your Google Business Listing
Your Google Business Profile is often the first impression you make on a new user. And, keeping this profile accurate and up-to-date is important, now more than ever because of the increasing number of ‘near me’ searches. Start by verifying your hours of operation and modify your description to include Coronavirus offers, if any.
- Do a Facebook Live
Facebook data says that the number of Live viewers has increased by up to 50% in America. You can take advantage of this changing consumption behavior by scheduling a ‘Q n A’ with your customers, announcing a new feature launch, or conducting a tutorial session on how to use your product better. You need to initiate and hold conversations with your followers regularly because well, out of sight is out of mind.
- Plan Giveaways and Offer Freebies
Who doesn’t like free stuff or winning a lottery? You can create a special landing page where the first 100 people who give you their email win a free e-book, gift card, brand merchandise, or special discount code on their next order. Giveaway campaigns are a surefire way of boosting audience engagement and getting people to talk about your product. Often, lucky winners also advertise their good fortune on social media, which makes for some great free publicity.
- Covid-19 Hashtags on Instagram
Embedding strategic hashtags into your posts is one of the neatest hacks to enhance your marketing on Instagram and making your content more discoverable. But, don’t use broad hashtags like #Covid or #Coronavirus else, you’ll be drowned in a sea of posts. Instead, location or domain-specific hashtags like #NYStrong or #covidcooking can boost your visibility more. Other niche hashtags you can go for are #safetyfirst, #wearamask, #diy, and #quarantineedition.
- Video Conferencing
With the rise of video-oriented platforms like Tiktok and YouTube, creating videos to disseminate information has become a commodity. You can easily create high-quality, professional product explainers, how-to guides, brand stories, customer testimonials, etc., online within a few hours and without breaking the bank. Marketers can provide online demos, doctors can schedule 1-to-1 consultations, gym instructors can organize training sessions via video.
- Promote Coupons and Gift Cards
If your main business has slowed down, consider alternate sources of revenue like gift cards and vouchers. Restaurants that are closed down can offer gift cards that subsidize a future visit. This can create a buzz online and send more traffic to the restaurant website or social media page. SaaS businesses can let prospects prepay a discounted amount for upgrading their plans in the future.
- Utilize Free Tools
Many marketing automation tools are giving their offerings for free to help businesses deal with the impact of Covid-19. These include social media management, keyword research for SEO, app store optimization, affiliate marketing tools, etc. You can take advantage of these tools to amplify your reach without spending a dime.
- Create Tweets From Customer Reviews
When it comes to convincing someone to buy something, nothing works like social proof. Your customer reviews are perfect for giving validation and reassuring leads that your product works as advertised. Newton Mail creates a beautiful templated poster featuring a user review or testimonial and tweets it every day. This is a beautiful way of spreading positivity and creating a feel-good emotion around a service.
- Make a PR Splash
Media outreach is another great way to attract eyes for your product or service. You can offer a free copy of your product to journalists, influencers, or YouTube celebrities and ask them to play around with your product. If they like it, they will often review it on their channel or publication for free!
Hopefully, this guide has given you enough food for thought and shown you that there is light at the end of every tunnel. Use some or all of these free strategies and turn this crisis into an opportunity for business growth.