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By: Austin Scott | May 26, 2020

Shifting Gears Towards Top of Sales Funnel Marketing During COVID-19

A majority of marketers are now trying to determine their approach amid the coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has swept most businesses around the world into uncharted waters. And with new direction almost every day, many organizations have to change their approach to work or close their doors. The change in approach means implementing mandatory work from home requirements in order to comply with government and CDC guidelines.

Having managed companies through multiple recessions, the financial crisis, and 9/11, many experts in the country find that some businesses react faster than others. These companies usually have more experienced and savvy marketers, and their instincts are often correct.

In a world affected by COVID-19, smart marketers are realizing that bottom-of-the-funnel sales tactics will not work as they did in the past.

During this pandemic, as a marketer, you have to leverage generosity as well as empathy over opportunistic product messaging to appeal to your audience. Developing trust with your audience is crucial to surviving during this pandemic. Also, keep in mind that in times of health crisis, when anxiety is at a record high, customer service, transparency, and clear communication are essential.

Focus on Top of the Sales Funnel

Did you know that according to estimates, more than 70 percent of B2B companies have slashed their marketing spends because of the current economic shifts and financial projections? As a marketer, this creates challenges and complexity for you in knowing where to apply these scarce funds in order to drive the most customer engagement.

You should consider your customers’ stage in the sales funnel when appealing to them. Note that potential customers at the top of the sales funnel typically have not heard of your product or service or are not too familiar with them. This is why the main goal of marketing at the top of the funnel is often brand awareness.

Why Top-of-Funnel

Although many initiatives, projects, budgets and marketing plans have either been frozen or put on hold, we have seen considerable success in activities geared toward top-of-funnel awareness as well as driving opportunity from expansion into new markets and verticals.

The great thing is that availability of both content topics and content themes is abundant as companies are positioning themselves as solution providers during this time of heightened uncertainty and challenge.

Here are some steps you can take to stay relevant in the eyes of your customers during this pandemic.

Stay True to Your Mission

Your organization’s mission is a comprehensive statement that defines the guiding principles of your business. In times of health crisis, your company’s mission and its core values should inform both what and how you communicate with your customers.

You have to prioritize what your customers really need rather than focusing on your bottom line, which usually comes off as opportunistic in times like these.

Move to Engage and Capture Attention

Note that in this scarce attention economy, it would seem like more “supply” is now opening up. While the intent to adopt new solutions might be lower (as many companies and businesses are still on the defensive side), what experts can already glean from the latest data is that online attention is growing. As a result, marketing teams that are agile and quick to move are more likely to capitalize on this new opportunity.

So, this is the best time to expand your top of funnel activities. Therefore, when the normal order of business resumes, you will likely have a leg up, which is excellent.

Check In With Your Local Community

Although we know that there are a slew of COVID-19 posts on many social media platforms, it does not mean that you have to come up with an earth-shattering post in order to stand out from your competitors. Keep in mind that a simple and heart-felt post to wish your community well will likely go a long way.

Create Long-Form Content

Did you know that people are generally spending more time online? As a result, this could be an ideal time to invest in long term, textual formats as well as deeper dives.

Write Relevant and Engaging Blog Posts

You probably know that the internet offers considerable COVID-19 content. However, that does not mean you cannot work hard to show up on the first page of SERPs. The trick is targeting long-tail keywords that are highly specific to your audience and niche.