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Fearless Digital Marketing for Retailers: A Checklist to Implement ASAP for COVID-19

Published: April 9, 2020

Author: Devon Lehmann

As part of our thought leadership to help marketers navigate the COVID-19 age, we recently published Fearless Digital Marketing: The Retailer’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19. In today’s blog, we’ll cover a few tactics you should employ right away to proactively address troublesome account settings or location specifics.
COVID-19 effects are coming in waves. Retailers are trying to deal with huge shifts in consumer behavior by device, channel, audience, and more, which is requiring a lot of strategic adjustments. All that said, there are several ways to cover yourself on the tactical level that you should tackle immediately.

Location-specific updates

  • Make sure you’ve updated your Google My Business and Bing accounts to reflect any changes in store hours. For instance, my pharmacy formerly opened at 8am but now opens an hour later  which is essential for customers to know in these times of self-quarantining and helps preserve the customer/brand relationship:
  • Make sure your keyword set is reflective of what is available to consumers – i.e. don’t spend money on terms like “where is the closest {brand} store near me” when it’s not open to visitors.
  • Make sure any language you might be using in ads for in-store services (example: in-store tech support) has been updated/removed.

Account settings

  • Are you using a bid strategy? If so, evaluate whether the change in volume is still serving the bid strategy well and whether you should shift to manual bidding for the time being.
    • If you decide to maintain your bid strategy, note that in many accounts, you can implement “blackout” dates so the optimization algorithm doesn’t take dates with atypical performance into consideration. 
  • Keep an eye on budget caps
    • Make sure your budget caps (and bids) are designed to serve the shift in volume from changes in demand, whether increases or decreases.
  • Check your query volume frequently.
    • Enable dynamic search ad campaigns to help capture additional relevant search volume that your keyword set may not be set up to capture.
    • Look for certain queries that have increased to the extent that you should add them to your keyword mix.
    • Conversely, be hawkish in watching for irrelevant queries that are picking up volume and driving up costs, and update negative keywords aggressively.

Thanks for reading our Fearless Digital Marketing blog series on retail strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic. My 3Q colleagues and I send warm thoughts (from a safe distance) to you and your loved ones.

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