With internet usage up and advertising rates down, going online can help you meet your existing goals in new ways.
Right now, the future feels full of unknowns. As the world comes together to fight COVID-19, many businesses, nonprofits, and political campaigns are drastically restructuring their methods of outreach, and it can be incredibly daunting.
We know because we’re doing the same thing. But we’ve found structure and even comfort in these uncertain times because we’ve returned to our values, time and time again.
Utilizing the internet for fundraising and outreach
In particular, we’ve spent the last few weeks working closely with our clients and finding innovative ways to ensure goals are met and timelines are on track. Given internet usage is spiking and, in many cases, ad costs are down – digital outreach can be incredibly valuable right now. In most cities nationwide, internet usage has increased 20 to 50 percent, along with engagement rates increasing 10 to 20 percent (based on the campaigns currently running on our behalf).
At the same time, changes in demand mean that Google Search campaigns are experiencing a 5 to 10 percent drop in Cost-Per-Click (CPC) rates. With the absence of more traditional in-person communications, coupled with dropping costs and increased online inventory and engagement, there is no better time to leverage digital to meet your goals – because we all need to communicate with your constituents, community, members and/or consumers in these uncertain times.
Specifically, here are some things to keep in mind while using digital in the current environment:
1. Adjust in changing times. It’s never a good idea to do something just because that’s the way you’ve always done it, but that has never been more true than now. Behavior is changing and unpredictable, and you should throw the rule book out of the window now. Instead, rethink existing plans, get creative, and try new things. Digital outreach is the best and most effective way to reach your target market right now; but be sure to know your audience. Many people are spending time on websites they don’t normally frequent as they pursue new information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to study where your audience is going NOW, not where they’ve been in the past.
2. Put your people first. Speaking of audiences, if you need to run an awareness campaign to update your constituents or consumers right now, focus on the audiences that you know and that you have a history with. When it comes to precision and impact, data-driven, audience-based programmatic targeting is the most effective way to reach the right people on the right screen right now.
3. Hold back on traditional promotional content. Instead, make sure you are utilizing multi-platform digital content marketing. In other words, share your expertise in the form of free or reduced-price informational content that is relevant to what your target audiences need right now. But make sure the content you’re sharing tells the story of who you are and where you’re going – don’t wander away from your core brand position in an effort to grab people’s attention.
4. Instead of focusing on everything you have to cancel, communicate to your supporters what you are doing. If you’re a non-profit trying to raise money during the pandemic, try virtual events, social flash fundraisers, shareable live event content and/or live auctions on Facebook.
5. Now is the time to dabble with video. Consider diving into video content and engaging your audience on social media. This year, over 50% of online activity consists of watching videos. And don’t forget – more people are online than ever.
6. Adapt fundraising activities to the tone of the time. If you’re a political candidate, be sure not to politicize the pandemic right now. And if you cannot afford to pause online fundraising altogether, then be especially mindful of your message and definitely do not engage in any alarmist rhetoric.
7. With surging global interest in breaking news, paid search ads can get your brand in front of new eyes. But remember, you must also consider: “In what instances are we comfortable positioning our brand alongside news content?” This is the time to optimize your website content for users and search engines – and make sure you’re comfortable with what it will be running alongside in search results.
One final note: We understand that as a result of the pandemic and its economic impact, marketing budgets are dropping substantially. Digital outreach is your best ally right now. It’s the most effective way to acquire detailed data and return-on-investment metrics, such as unique monthly visitors to your website, financial return on ad spend and a quantifiable cost per lead. Today, information is more important than ever and available at a much lower cost than almost any other form of outreach.
In this moment, digital outreach is the safest and most effective way to perform your crucial work. Contact our VP of Digital Strategy and Data Analytics at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help.