The Need For Viral Marketing In A Virus-Hit Economy

2020 is not shaping up to be a good year for businesses. After reaching new highs in January, stock markets around the world have tumbled. The virus that started in China is now out, and it’s causing a mass change in psychology. Business confidence was high at the start of the year. Now it is cratering. 

If you run an SME, you need to plan for the future. You may see a drop in the number of customers through your doors. And your clients may reduce their orders – or eliminate them. Surviving what’s coming will be a real challenge on a personal and economic level. 


Image by Pettycon from Pixabay


For a lot of executives, the answer is to rein in spending and cut back hours for employees, just like in the financial crisis. The problem with this approach is that it does real damage to your bottom line. It is a defensive strategy, rather than a plan of attack. You’re putting the walls up instead of looking for opportunities. 

The other tactic is to look for new ways to win. It’s to seek out things that people need right now in a coronavirus-stricken world and provide value. 

Getting the message out, though, in a way that protects your business won’t be easy. You’ll need to balance the cost of marketing against the expected reward. And that payback might be much less in an economy in recession. 

The trick here is to ensure that your ROI is high. In other words, you need your marketing efforts to go viral and faster than the plague itself. 

Here is some actionable digital marketing advice for execs looking to make a return in a virus-hit economy. 


Be Clear About The Predicament

Authorities are only just getting up to speed with the gravity of the present situation. A month ago, they were telling people that this infection was similar to the flu. It was nothing to worry about. 

Today, it’s a different story. Authorities are floating ideas about closing all mass gatherings, providing emergency relief and closing down travel. 

As a business, you need to be clear about the predicament in which people find themselves. You need to have an air of authenticity in your communications, especially if they relate to the virus. Doing this will improve your standing with your customers and boost your brand. Don’t be afraid to be provocative. Now is not the time for half-measures. If you’re going to risk marketing in an environment like this, you need to do something that will grab attention. Showing people how using your services will benefit them during a pandemic is the first pillar of an effective marketing campaign in 2020. Please ensure that you do this.  


Make Your Campaign Highly Visual

If you look at most viral marketing campaigns, you notice that they’re highly visual. Marketers rely on videos and images instead of static text. 

This feature of successful campaigns isn’t accidental. It comes from our natural wiring to preferentially process the visual over the textual. Younger generations want a quick hit. They don’t have long attention spans. You must clearly communicate a message AND make it fun at the same time. Where possible, try to keep your video ads under eight seconds. Grabbing attention fast and then demanding just a small amount of your audience’s time is crucial. People won’t want to invest minutes of their day if they don’t know you or what they’re getting. 


Research The Emotional Needs Of Your Target Audience

Mass viral videos are great, but you don’t need to create one to get a high ROI. All you need is a video that goes viral among the people who are likely to buy from you. 

For this reason, you need to understand the emotions of your audience. Developing a sense of what is emotionally important to them is critical. 

Stepping into the shoes of the people you serve is never an easy task, but with the right dose of empathy, you can get there. 

Again, think about the types of concerns that people might have when it comes to the virus and your company. If you run a physical store, perhaps offer delivery. If you run an online store, talk about your high hygiene standards. Hairdressers might want to experiment with ways of cutting hair that doesn’t involve bringing your hands close to your clients’ heads. It sounds crazy, but these are the sorts of things that you might want to promote in an environment where people are rightly fearful. 


Tell A Story

Ever since ancient times, we’ve told each other stories. It is a way to neatly package up the world and sell our ideas to others. Those fundamentals still exist in the modern world. We have a lot of technology, but we are fundamentally the same beings as we were thousands of years ago. Understanding this is vital. 

A lot of content on the internet is disposable. People consume it and then forget about it altogether. A viral marketing campaign is different. It intrigues and interests people. It captures their imagination. 

Telling a story is a natural way to do this. When you adopt this approach, you create a sense of pace and identity. You speak to the heart of people’s concerns and offer narrative interest that you don’t get with a simple sales pitch. 


Create A Call To Action

Lastly, you want to make sure that there’s a reason for people to follow-through at the end of your marketing content. You need to make it clear what the next step is and what they should do. 


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


Creating a call to action in the current climate should focus on how you can help people in the present crisis. You need to make sure that money continues changing hands so that you can secure your financial future. 

We’re living through unprecedented times. Marketers, therefore, need to take new steps to ensure that their companies continue to thrive. Doing that is going to require some risk-taking, but given the situation, there’s not a lot of choices left. 

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