6 Ways You Need to Adjust Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy in Response to COVID-19

By Kris Gabert, Director of Marketing

We’re now in what most experts believe are the early days of a global pandemic, and the short-term impact to the way people live—and shop—is difficult to predict. Your tried-and-true marketing strategy will likely lose some of its effectiveness. It’s time to rethink everything.

  1. Evaluate everything. Every good business owner knows their data, but some of your marketing campaigns are such a slam dunk that you let them run with little oversight. Now’s the time for oversight. Is that no-brainer Google Ads campaign still working? Has Amazon lengthened the delivery window for products in the categories in which you advertise? Is the open rate on that “prep for you next beach vacation” email series tanking? 
  2. Kill ineffective paid campaigns. Your first priority is to kill any paid marketing that has stopped working. The money you lose on these campaigns today is money you may need to help your business weather the storm tomorrow. How much does your average customer acquired through paid channels spend? If you’re now spending more than that for each customer you acquire through a given campaign, kill it. I’m leaving out a ton of nuance here: some of the customers acquired through paid channels may become repeat customers, so their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is more than their first purchase. If you have the reporting sophistication to calculate CLV, then do it. However, keep in mind that the amount of time required for repeat customers to earn back their acquisition costs are more relevant than ever. If your cash flow has taken a significant hit, consider whether you have time to wait for CLV to outpace the acquisition cost for each campaign.  
  3. Curtail email and social marketing that isn’t working. While it may not cost you any money to run these fruitless campaigns, annoying potential customers with irrelevant messages can hurt your brand in the short and long term.
  4. Don’t send the “Our response to COVID-19” email unless you have something important to say or something useful to offer. Everyone is flooded with these emails, and they’re all the same. Give your customers and prospects a break.
  5. Get personal. Person-to-person social sharing is king in a crisis. Find the value-add for your product right now, and mobilize a force of supporters online who want to help you spread the message. Be kind in your message. Be empathetic with your customers and prospects. Craft a message that your employees and friends will be happy to share on your behalf.
  6. Get creative. What unique value does your product offer right now? Can you partner with other companies offering complementary products to create a more holistic shopping experience for your customers? What new shipping, delivery, or packaging decisions can you make to surprise and delight customers who are still shopping? What can you do to build community among retailers in your geographic area or ecommerce space? Think outside the box for ways to bring value into the lives of your customers while maintaining your own business.

Want to learn more strategies for overcoming this pandemic as a business? See our new resource center, Beat It!

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