Times are challenging and the world is a different place. As covid–19 continues its global maelstrom – impacting us economically, commercially, physically, and digitally – businesses are finding innovative ways to do business, communicate, and stay connected to clients and customers. Even during times of adversity and uncertainty, what matters to businesses is universal: introspection, adaptability, and reinvention.
What happens now?
Like most, Milestone has closed its physical offices around the world. We believe that it’s the moral responsibility of businesses and communities to social distance and work from home so we can flatten the spread of the coronavirus and recover economies, industries, and lives. We created a remote plan, technology infrastructure, and virtual events so that our teams and clients can seamlessly and effectively work from home.
Milestone is doing everything we can to support global businesses and local communities, while ensuring the well-being of our customers and employees. Navigating the new work-life paradigm is challenging as we find new ways to socialize, work, create, and stay healthy virtually. Whether its Yoga though an app, video meetups, or thought leadership webinars over Zoom, the power of connection and renewal is stronger than ever.
A phased coronavirus recovery plan
Covid-19 has disrupted our world and businesses like never before. And the response requires a reset, reflection, planning, and execution. Milestone has developed its Covid -19: Crisis-Growth-Recovery model and webinar series to help businesses adapt to this new marketing landscape.
This omni-channel roadmap utilizes local, organic, social, and paid media channels to reach people with targeted messaging across three phases – crisis, recovery and growth. This approach ensures you are reaching customers and enhancing your digital presence with the right tactics and content. “In the crisis stage, we conserve, adjust and engage,” says Milestone VP of Marketing, Eric Newton. “As we get to recovery and growth, we think about scaling and expanding the solid foundation you established.”
Crisis – Innovate and Do the Right Things
During this crisis stage, companies have to innovate, be empathetic, and establish new business and customer relationships. Restaurants and groceries adapted through partnerships with delivery services and pickup, hotels waived resort and cancellation fees, and the New England Aquarium is streaming live video to engage customers and develop goodwill. New Balance is now making masks along with sneakers – doing the right thing as a way to communicate through ads that send a positive brand message.
During Crisis mode, Milestone recommends focusing on omni-channel synergies by enhancing your website and SEO, leveraging paid media, updating local, and amplifying your message with email and social.
Here are our strategies for crisis:
Website banner with empathy message and landing page with personal and relevant content and newsletter signup (soft conversion)
Ensure website is up-to date and performing – speed, usability, UX
Control Local listings and Google Knowledge Panel – ensure accuracy with UNAP, hours, services, reviews, images, description, and FAQs
Create crisis and evergreen FAQs to increase visibility (impressions) and leverage the zero-click trend and put your best answers in front of your customers without friction. The best answers in the zero position drive CTR to your site and leverage voice search
Add schema for events and virtual events, giving visibility and letting Google know your information. There is even a covid-related schema that Google is prioritizing.
Use social channels to engage with customer, ask questions, be empathetic, be helpful, share home activities, recipes, and health updates, and get customer intelligence
Deploy AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) on key pages, which are 10x faster, and increase rank and engagement, ensuring your content connects with your audience
Do a digital assessment to ensure your site is ready for recovery and growth stages – mobile, page speed, schemas, content, images, video – and a competitive analysis
Maintain your website with engaging banner message and landing pages for digital relevance and soft conversions.
Recovery – working in the new normal
Recovery is the time to think about getting your business in the right direction through planning and adjustment. As we see a change in lifestyle and consumer behavior, people need a spark to re-engage and do business with you. Your omni-channel marketing strategy has to get the word out through SEO, digital media, mobile enhancement, and email to get people to connect with your business.
Here are the strategies for recovery:
Website Unique Selling Points – Offers targeted to geo, attributes, new services and benefits, partnerships, or rewards – present your business in a new and interesting way
Digital Media Activation - Target lower-funnel strategies, such as remarketing and paid search, saturating one channel at a time, and eventually doing display and social ads to reengage
SEO Visibility Upgrade – Ensure schemas, technical SEO, and local presence
Mobile Enhancements – Fluid navigation, content display, speed, AMP solution, CTAs, FAQs, and lightboxes to promote new attributes or specials, and using a dynamic booking engine
Email – Amplify your omni-channel efforts, loyalty refresh, and CRM reset – tie everything together and reestablish loyalty through personalized communication and positive messaging that gets people excited to come back
Data collection – figuring out what works and adjusting tactics and getting customer insights
Enhance mobile with fluid navigation, CTAs, lightboxes, dynamic booking and geo-targeted content.
Growth – back in the game.
In a few months your business will be back in the game. At the end of the recovery stage, we recommend looking at what worked across all channels and using customer insights to readjust or enhance. During the growth stage, we look at ways to synergize your omni-channel strategy through your desktop and mobile sites, search optimization, and amplifying your presence with digital media, social and local. Put together a marketing and media plan to gradually roll out in a controlled targeted fashion. Stay in front of your audience and ensure people can reach you as we get back to doing the things we love.
Here are the strategies for growth:
Figure out which stage you are in – readjust and implement
Map your marketing plan to the CRG stages
Engage your team or an agency to execute your plan
Listen to your customers and watch for changes in journeys
Run experiments, run more experiments
Get a complimentary digital assessment from Milestone
To dive deeper into how your business can conserve, react, and grow as we recover to a normal way of life, watch Milestone’s webinar: Covid-19: Crisis-Recovery-Growth. Learn how to gather customer insights, adjust content, enhance mobile, and new measurement models. This 4-part series is designed to help businesses adapt and recover in the months ahead.
Stay safe, stay positive, look ahead
As we embrace change, we wish our clients, partners, and teammates health, wellness and new possibilities. Stay calm, stay at home, and work together to come out ahead. The Foo Fighters’ anthem still rings true: “It’s times like these you learn to live again.”
Connect with our strategists and consultants to do a digital assessment and create a custom plan for your road to recovery during the coronavirus crisis. Join us for more ideas and sign up for our next CRG webinar on Local.