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Strategies for unprecedented times

These are unprecedented times. We recognize everyone is stretched thin between new business demands, personal and family concerns and uncertainty about what’s ahead. There are no playbooks or guidelines for what to do next — but what is certain is that consumer behavior is shifting during this time and we need to be flexible to adjust our strategies with the changes that are happening almost daily. 
Of course, flexibility is nothing new for us within the search industry.
It’s not too late to evolve your search marketing tactics alongside changing consumer behavior. The two questions you can start with are: what should we do, and how should we measure it?
Here are a few strategic approaches, but with a fresh approach that reflects the “new normal”:
  1. Be more visible:  Your consumer’s decision journey has likely lengthened. Others might be holding back due to uncertainty. Consider how you can be more top of mind with brand advertising. Consider native and display ads for example to build more direct connection with customers by reaching them in a targeted, efficient and relevant context.
  2. Test, and test again: Now is the perfect time to test and experiment with different elements of your campaign to achieve the biggest impact. Be sure to take advantage of the experiment feature that allows you to test and compare in a controlled environment.
  3. Safeguard with RSAs: Be sure your ad copy is clear with any offering which offers security or refunds to reduce customer uncertainty. RSAs can be powerful if used effectively.
  4. Doublecheck existing ad copy: Is the tone and visual imagery used in your ad copy and creative elements appropriate for the world we’re living in today? What worked last month may already be outdated.
  5. Update your business data: This is very important for brick and mortar stores.
    • Ensure that your business listing data and your website reflects updated business hours or closures.
    • If your business is a restaurant that has temporarily switched to delivery-only make sure the information is available and easy to find.
    • For retail stores selling products through shopping campaigns, check inventory levels of products and determine how often you need to update feed information so that if you have buy-online-pick up in store, that the information is reflected.
  6. Focus on efficiency: Most likely, your time is more valuable than ever. Focus your efforts on finding efficient solutions. (Don’t do work for the sake of doing work!)
  7. Sharpen operational work: Your typical day and strategies have already been disrupted, if not completely upended. Consider executing on the foundational work now to prepare for the future, such as re-structuring accounts.

What About Metrics?

Just as some changes to your marketing approach are necessary, it’s time to rethink your approach to measuring results. Change is occurring daily; long term predictions will be difficult, and your short-term reactions and instincts have gained importance. Set yourself up for success by developing new dashboards, scripts and automated alerts, and most importantly, update the following metrics:
  1. Market share metric — Why? In a very dynamic marketplace this is more important than ever for measuring progress, and your YoY/MoM numbers are less relevant. Keep a close eye on your competition via the Competition Tab in the UI.
  2. Media effectiveness — Why? As you consider attribution modeling and measuring media effectiveness, be sure to take into consideration that consumer decision journeys may be longer due to uncertainty.
  3. Target CPAs — Why? Adjust your targets accordingly so you don’t miss out on business gains because you were using an old metric to optimize.
With everything else keeping you up at night, this is a lot to digest. We get it. Our best advice is to take a moment to think through which of these marketing strategies is most relevant for your business goals or your clients’ business goals. We don’t know what the next few weeks and months have in store, but we hope this helps untangle some of the questions you’ll face as you start planning for the new reality of today. 
As always, keep in touch. Reach out to us on LinkedIn or Twitter with questions and we’d love to hear the strategies you are taking to adapt to the new reality of today.