With the sudden rise of the global pandemic COVID-19, life has become a lot more complicated, and the future seems uncertain. People are struggling to make ends meet while businesses have already incurred heavy losses.
Operating a business remotely in a time of crisis is a real challenge. The virtual meeting rooms worldwide are dealing with the most alarming concern of the present time, i.e., how to keep the customers engaged at the time of social distancing?
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This emergency calls for a calculated marketing strategy that can help businesses connect to their target audience effectively. The mass lockdown imposed in most countries has impacted the consumer buying pattern. Even Google has made changes to its SERP listing by showcasing authentic and high domain authority sites and its own SERP features on the first page.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Various Industries
The healthcare industry is currently under massive pressure due to the rise of COVID-19. Medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are working overtime to control the rising pandemic and support those affected by it.
With shopping malls and grocery stores being closed indefinitely, people resort to online shopping apps to purchase the essentials. In the US alone, the sale of items like rice, flour, canned, and jarred vegetables, milk, and milk products has shot up during the pandemic.
In addition to these, the sale of face masks, soaps, hand washes, sanitizers, and cleaning supplies has skyrocketed. As offices remain shut, the sale of home furniture, especially tables, chairs, lamps, and home improvement goods, has also soared.
However, not all industries are doing good at the time of this pandemic. The luxury goods industry, retail, fintech, travel and tourism, and the aviation industry have seen a steep fall in their revenues after being hit by the global pandemic.
Changing Consumer Sentiments During COVID-19
With people globally locked down in their homes, the time spent on apps has shot up by 20%. Despite the growing engagement, apps like Facebook are seeing a decline in the demand for paid ads as more people are now focusing on organic content at this time.
As per a recent survey conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 43% of respondents said that they find it reassuring to hear from brands they trust at the time of this pandemic, while another 40% said that they are eager to learn what brands are doing in response to this pandemic. However, the rest, 15%, said that they don’t want to see or hear any brand at this time.
Since most of the survey participants wanted to hear from brands and see their initiatives during this time, it is time for brands to brainstorm on effective marketing strategies that can help spread positivity at the time of crisis.
This is when businesses should focus on utilizing their online marketing channels to keep their target customers informed rather than trying to make sales. Adapting mindless marketing tactics at the time of such a crisis can do more harm than good to your brand reputation.
Healthcare Marketing Scenarios During COVID-19
Before COVID-19, there were 1 billion monthly searches for medical advice. However, with the onset of the infection, the searches have surged. This also increases people’s susceptibility to fake news and information. Cyber cells in various countries are working proactively to nab culprits spreading such news and control its circulation.
The rise of coronavirus cases has led every big and small healthcare organization to come forward and help spread awareness against COVID-19. At the alarming rate at which this virus is infecting people, it is becoming a huge challenge to offer adequate support even in the presence of the best healthcare technology.
As we remain a vaccine away from eradicating this deadly disease, healthcare marketers are using digital tools to control the rising panic among people and keep the healthcare system functional. They are using social media to interact with people and guide them with COVID-19 safety measures.
Best Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Adapt During COVID-19
In response to the current situation, all healthcare marketers must improvise their current marketing strategies and help people find support and encouragement in this difficult time.
All big and small healthcare providers must share online notice regarding the safety measures and initiatives to fight COVID-19. This can contain the necessary information that might help the new and existing patients, such as any change in the operating hours, availability of doctors for individual consultations, the measures taken for the safety of other patients, any change of policies, etc.
Here is an example of a notice released by a healthcare organization in response to COVID-19. By sharing such notice, you can be assured that people who come to you are aware of the initiatives taken by your healthcare organization. This will also enhance the patient experience.
If your business is listed on local listing sites, you must contact the site moderators to update any new information changes. Any changes implemented in your organization in the wake of coronavirus, such as a change in the hours of operation or not considering any online appointment requests, etc., must be updated elsewhere at the earliest.
At this time of crisis, where people cannot move out of their house without a medical emergency and the helplines of most organizations staying engaged due to constant calls, many people will resort to online information.
If you fail to update your site or local listing pages with the current information in such a scenario, it will be difficult for people to gather the right information.
If you were running an online ad campaign before the onset of COVID-19, you need to ensure that the message meets the current scenario. For example, if you are running an ad campaign for cosmetic surgery, you might think of dismissing the campaign as the government has asked the healthcare industry worldwide to put a hold on all surgeries until further notice.
Instead of dismissing the ad, find ways to repurpose it by turning it into an informational ad. So, instead of adding a CTA like “Book Your Appointment,” you can add CTA like “Learn More” and link it to resource pages where people can learn more about the benefits of undergoing cosmetic surgery at your healthcare center.
If you deal with oncology patients, pregnant women, or aged patients, you must make them feel safe and secure. To avoid the risk of transmission of COVID-19, you should make special arrangements for them and let them know about it on social media.
If you want such patients to call and come, please clarify by spreading the message on their personal mobile numbers or emails. Work with your internal PR team to spread positive words in this tough time and request people to be compassionate to each other.
The people who are at home right now will have a lot more free time than usual. As a healthcare marketer, you can take this opportunity to educate your audience and increase their awareness through healthcare blogs, articles, and infographics.
You can even conduct podcasts, organize a discussion panel, or get qualified medical professionals to speak on COVID-19 and other related diseases. This will surge the organic traffic on your site very easily.
Hospitals and medical centers running paid search campaigns, such as Google PPC, must continue their efforts. The demand may be lower now, and you will end up paying only for clicks from people looking for your services, particularly.
This time might also be the best time to invest in television and radio advertisements. Healthcare marketers can use these mediums to share information on COVID-19. Besides, they can also use this opportunity to stream exclusive interviews with doctors and expert medical practitioners on platforms like Youtube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
Finally, you should remember that whatever type of content you choose to produce during the coronavirus outbreak should not sound offensive or hurt people’s sentiments. Be very careful about the language you use and how you present the message to the audience.
People around the world are dealing with multiple problems at once due to the impact of COVID-19. Some are worried about losing their jobs, some have lost their near and dear ones, some are worried about their children’s education, while some are barely making ends meet.
The growing pressure on the healthcare industry only suggests that this sector is on the verge of facing a huge crisis in the coming days. To prevent further disruption, all healthcare marketers should come forward to showcase their leadership in this tough time by facilitating clear communication.
Take this opportunity to fulfill the mission of the healthcare industry by caring for your community. Play your part in eradicating misinformation on COVID-19 and promote safe living through measured marketing efforts.