What does Coronavirus COVID-19 mean for your online business? We have seen it everywhere, wide spread panic buying, cities going into complete lock down. And it is only going to get worse. People seem to fall into two different categories;
Category 1 – Panic Buying, I NEED ALL THE TOILET PAPER.
Category 2 – HOAX the media is CONTROLLING US.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, Coronavirus will have far reaching, global financial ramifications which present an opportunity, but also a confronting obstacle.
Side note: We do not fall into category two, and cannot express how damaging and danger of this line of thinking. This virus will kill hundreds and thousands of people and we need to do everything we can to minimise the effects on the healthcare system.
What is Coronavirus COVID-19 & Why Are Countries Going Into Lock Down?
Coronavirus is a type of virus, of which there are many different kinds such as the well know severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In this recent outbreak, the strain COVID-19 which is a respiratory illness, first emerged in china in December 2019. The symptoms are similar to most flu’s including coughs, feverts and shortness of breath. However in some rare cases COVID-19 can also lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.
The below video by Lisa Maragakis, M.D,, M.P.H, the Senior Director of Infection Prevention at The John Hopkins Health System gives a good top line summary of the virus;
China was the first to go into complete lock down, with Italy following suite. Residents are confined to their homes and not allow to go anywhere without a police escort. These measures are in attempt to do something that is known as flattening the curve.
The Washington post recently put an excellent article and visual on what this means and why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially. The term flattening the curve, refers to the exponential growth curve, and attempting to slow the rate of increase, and decrease the peak. Countries are going into lock down and imposing strict quarantine measures in an attempt to mitgate the stress placed on the health care system.
Left unchecked this outbreak will overrun all health care systems globally, and result in far greater avoidable deaths. As you can see below, with preventative measures, the spread is spread out over time and the peak number of cases is hopefully kept below the capacity of our health care system.
How Coronavirus COVID-19 Will Effect Your Online Business
Coronavirus COVID-19 presents both an opportunity and a difficult obstacle to overcome. Depending on what type of business you operate online you may face significant supply issues. E-commerce sites will be hit just as hard as brick and mortar stores, with export bans and potential stock shortages. There is also the very real reality that even if there are no export bans, or stock shortages there may be no one to actually ship the product or process the orders.
However what the situation is creating is a captured audience, with time on their hands. In the coming weeks we will see an unprecedented level of people who are not working, or working from home, with a lot more idle time. Think Christmas time, without the ability to celebrate outside of your home. Never before have online businesses been able to reach their market in a state where they are more likely to be receptive or have time to digest the message.
Often during long periods of stagnant activity, people often seek to replace the monotony, whether on purpose or by a product of the environment, by considering their current state of affairs. Am I happy with my life? Do I want more than I currently have? Can I do something to improve my future? A career change, a new business direction, or taking up a new challenge. So what this means for online business is the opportunity to get more customers, in a shorter amount of time, at a lower cost.
That’s the opportunity, what is the obstacle? Financial uncertainty. The same events that lead to these opportunities also lead to a great deal of stress and uncertainty in peoples financial future. Quarantine could mean no work, no income. During this time people may be more inclined to clutch their purse strings tighter rather than spend money.
Step 1, reach the market. Step 2 overcome the obstacle. Simple in theory, but harder in practise.
Anyone in the online business community should have a basic knowledge for reaching the market. We really have two ways to do this, firstly through organic free messages, or secondly through paid advertising. If you have no network to get organic reach, a high traffic website, a large following base on social media, your only option will be paid advertising. But regardless of which of the two options you choose, there are a few steps you need to follow
Define Your Target Market
Before you decide on what your message will be, you need to understand who you are marketing to. Any marketing endeavour starts with the market, which then shapes the message and the medium. There is the option to blanket smear your messaging to anyone, and everyone who will look at it. However this will result in increase ad spend, or increased bad leads which wastes your time.
By clearly identifying your market, you can ensure your messaging not only reaches them and only them. But also ensure the messaging is targeted specifically towards them. Your message to a 50 year female divorcee with little life savings will be different to a 28 year old single male with an investment portfolio and surplus cashflow. Your market governs your message.
And in this uncertain time your target market may no longer be those you use to sell to. Who can benefit from your offering with financial uncertainty in their future? Or who can benefit now they have a surplus amount of time. Which brings us to the next point – sell the why.
Sell The Why
People are selfish. Regardless of what anyone believes, or tells you there is always an altruistic nature in ones actions whether consciously or self consciously. Not to the extremes of purposely hurting and damaging others but its in our nature to always look after our best interests. With this psyche and mentality it is important to articulate “whats in it for me”.
Why will buying your product or service change your customers life? Without it is there any chance they can improve their situation. People need a compelling reason to buy, especially when trying to overcome the obstacle of money and price. Sell with emotion. Paint the current reality, then prompt the potential future they can have by purchasing.
When creating your messaging, after you have identified your market, ensure your copy answers these key questions;
- Why will my circumstances be better if I buy? What solution does your product or service provide.
- Why is THIS option better than other similar offerings in the market
- Why is NOW the perfect time for me to act
- Why will I regret passing this up
Clear, Concise Messaging
The final point speaks for itself – clear, concise and cohesive messaging. Every bit of copy, social posts and website funnels all need to edify your why. Often marketers can define their market, and they can identify their why. It’s the implementation where they often fall short.
You would notice this in any major marketing campaign. Every message, the tone, language used, colours and even fonts are all congruent on all platforms. In 1988 Nike sales were $800 million for the year. Reebok their main competitor was winning the shoe sales competition. Then in the late 80’s the famous and arguable one of the best known slogans ever create, “Just Do It” was launched.
Fast forward to 1998, sales exceeded $9 billion and Nike was the leading brand in shoe sales. The branding and messaging was clear, “Just Do It”. Every ad campaign and message encapsulated the message “Just Do It”. A message that resonated with every member of the core market. Everyone can relate to a lack in motivation – not wanting to get out of bed to go to gym, not wanting to do the extra mile when running. Just Do It. It answers every obstacle, and combats every objection with 3 words.
The effects of the Coronavirus COVID-19 will be far reaching, and the financial ramifications may be greater than that of the Global Financial Crisis. So what is your “Just Do It?”.