The coronavirus lockdown is shifting digital marketing

Photo of a man wearing a mask in Hong Kong. Accreditation to
August 7, 2020


The coronavirus will require you to shift your digital strategy. Although many businesses are experiencing a downturn in revenue, now's the time to adjust your marketing budget rather than axe it.

It doesn’t feel very long ago when terms like “digital frontier” were used to describe the internet. A place where people spend all day in a sea of electronic information.

Thanks (but not really) to the coronavirus, there may be a cataclysmic cultural shift where remote work is deemed acceptable. Employees are spending significant time online, more so than usual. It turns out, people don’t enjoy waking up and spending a 2 hour commute. Who knew?

As people are spending more time on digital content, there’s a surprising result from all this screen-gazing.

Email marketing is thriving. With the coronavirus keeping people indoors all day, eCommerce orders are surging and people are spending more time online.

This year, eCommerce spending from March 12-15 was up 36% according to a report from Rakuten intelligence—and it shows no sign of stopping as people are distancing and staying inside, with some verticals such as hygiene products and online food services making substantial gains. The tech industry is also seeing massive changes, as a report from Deloitte explains that although the sectors in many tech devices are taking a hit, the overall dependence on technology to stay connected is growing.

Overall sales across eCommerce businesses on email service provider, Klaviyo, are up roughly 13% month over month as of April 4th, 2020.

Even the folks at Dunder Mifflin are celebrating at all their eCommerce paper orders … maybe. I guarantee you they would’ve celebrated more if they diversified their product line to toilet paper before the crisis.

Although the toilet paper industry is wiping their behinds with dollar bills now from the sudden rise in demand, let’s say your online sales are down because you didn’t get lucky with your industry.

What to do if my online sales are down to the coronavirus epidemic?

Businesses must decide on which costs to cut in hard times. The marketing budget usually takes the hardest fall and we think that’s a big mistake.

What should you do? Look to recapture old customers who already have your brand loyalty.

Additionally, due to people staying inside from social distancing, we’re spending more time than ever on devices. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in mobile traffic. For example, app downloads in China during the lockdown surged by more than 40%.

People are simply consuming more and more digital information from staying at home. Netflix had to reduce its network traffic due to the recent surge.

It’s clear that people are spending more time online through all digital mediums – whether it’s social, watching cat videos or checking their email.

As a result of this phenomena, rather than slashing your marketing budget, consider adjusting your budget to move away from traditional forms of advertising – especially any physical advertising. Push harder on digital advertising – especially email marketing.

Why do we recommend email marketing over other forms of digital marketing?

  1. $1 spent on an email marketing campaign can potentially turn into $44 of revenue. We don’t believe this number will be any different due to the current situation. In fact, ROI can be even higher If your campaign is effectively managed.
  2. Email marketing is uniquely positioned to capture customers from all industries and verticals – regardless of what product you have. For example, you may sell clothing. Both social and email marketing are viable channels for audience outreach. However, if you sell supplies for warehouses, chances are social media spending won’t garner the same results as a targeted email campaign to customers focused within that niche.
  3. Due to many businesses axing their marketing budget, you can dominate your space. While others are remaining silent, this is your opportunity to sell your brand and elevate the image of your business.

We hope this crisis can be contained as soon as possible. While others are keeping quiet in this time of uncertainty, we believe email marketing is uniquely positioned to elevate your brand. If you don’t have many email marketing capabilities, now’s the best time to start.

If you have any questions, want to learn more about email marketing, or just want to have a quick chat on who your favorite Office character is, we’re always open to talk at Grab Digital.

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Written by

Nelson is co-founder of Grab Digital and enjoys the simple things in life - like plain oatmeal.