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Coronavirus/Covid-19 and how to do digital marketing right now

Whilst it might be all hands to the pump operationally, as a digital marketer you might be wondering what on earth to do with yourself. Here are a handful of things to help you make progress amid the uncertainty.

What digital marketing staff can do to support the international education, ELT and experience travel sectors during Coronavirus/Covid-19

Firefighting

We are aware that your organisation is going to be spending an inordinate amount of time communicating with any number of stakeholders (agents, booked students, board members…) trying to make sense of a largely unknown and unpredictable situation, so first of all, good luck with that and our thoughts are with you as you may be juggling many priorities both professionally and personally with family, friends and other loved ones.

Whilst many operational staff might be flat out, digital marketers might be a bit uncertain as to what to do next, as it might feel like a lot of what you set out to achieve at the start of the year is now irrelevant or unachievable.

Tasks for digital marketers during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 shutdown

Stakeholder management

Up until countries started locking down, you may still have been promoting courses and telling the world you’re still open for business. Right now, it will be worth having a space (possibly linking from your home page to a blog article or dedicated landing page on your website) to keep people updated. Make sure you are addressing all possible stakeholders, including:

  • the parents/family/relatives/friends of anyone still studying with you if you're open
  • overseas agents
  • students already booked and uncertain what is going to happen with their reservation
  • students currently conducting research for a future trip (they may have a lot more free time right now)
  • board members (you might want to send them private updates)

You can cover things like:

  • How your organisation is currently addressing the situation
  • How your organisation will deal with any sudden and/or major changes in the near future (e.g. if your government temporarily closes down/reopens/limits your sector's activity)
  • Information relevant to clients who are still with you
    • What will happen with those courses (in terms of completion) if students are already attending the course and suddenly there was an announcement that the school needs to close temporarily.
    • Will there be an option for students to be able to complete the course remotely/online?
    • Would the option be to complete the course at a later stage? What will happen with students who can’t attend the course at a later stage?
  • Are all current courses available in an online form?
  • If all courses are not available online, what options will be set in place for those courses in the case of a temporary school closure?
  • What will happen with examinations that currently require the student to sit the exam at a specified location in the event of a temporary examination centre closure?
    • Is there an option that will allow students to sit the exam remotely?
    • In the case of exams that need to take place within a specific number of days and no online option is available, what are the solutions offered by the school?
  • A message highlighting that these are extraordinary circumstances we are all are adjusting to and that your organisation will aim at returning to normal as soon as the government’s advice confirms it is safe to do so.
  • You might want to consider translating this post to different languages.
  • Any other point you think your school’s students are going to find useful during the Coronavirus development.

Publish your Coronavirus/Covid-19 FAQS

If you are being inundated with questions via phone, email, live chat, social media, etc. then there is a likelihood that many more people have the same question. As a digital marketing person, your time will be well spent speaking to admissions and management teams to harvest these frequently asked questions, and some of the answers the team have been providing. Use your time to collate the best answers then publish them online.

Mop up spare capacity for content creation

We know that the time is not right to be promoting yourselves as if nothing is happening. But you can be sure that the most shrewd players out there will be capitalising on the situation to boost their online positioning.

One of our main focuses at Disquiet Dog is content marketing for search engine optimisation. SEO is reliant on quite significant outputs of top-quality content, i.e. brilliant information which will help potential buyers make better-informed decisions, whatever stage they are at in the decision-making process.

Most of the time, as a digital marketer, you’ll probably be struggling to rope people in to help with content creation. If, by any chance, you have academic teams or activity coordinators with a little less to do, it might be worth negotiating some time with them to get help with content creation.

There will be aspects to what you do, the programmes you run, the experiences you create for your clients, that only certain experts in your building know about in depth. Use any available time to interview them, video them, capture content or ask them to write for you. When published online, this content will be extremely useful in helping boost your positioning. We can help you to plan your content strategy, if that’s not something you know how to do.

The more you write now whilst you have the time and capacity, the better positioned you’ll be when the crisis is over. Let’s face it, when things return to normality, it’s likely you’re going to need as many clients as possible.

Maintain your voice, watch your tone.

The travel, tourism, training and experience sectors are always looking for the optimism, the hedonism or the escapism. That’s a given. Just make sure that in communicating to the world at this difficult time, you maintain your brand consistency, exude your brand values as you usually would and stay true to yourselves as an organisation. That said, be sure to adjust your tone to what the world is worried about.

So, if you’re talking purely about the magnificence of your region as a tourism jewel, nothing has changed. If you’re talking about how easy it is to get in via the local airport, you might want to caveat what you’re writing to take the current situation into account. If you’re writing a blog, you could simply tag it with #coronavirus, and then once we get through the other side, and the world is returning to a state of normality, you can simply search your posts and amend them if needed.

What about Disquiet Dog?

To practise what we preach, we should let you know that our lovely team are remotely based by design, meaning that we have developed systems over the last 6 years to ensure we work extremely well without the need for a fixed office in one physical location. That said, some of us are in locations which are locked down, and we are doing what we can to be good colleagues and friends to those in need. We’ll keep you posted if any part of what we’re doing needs to change, but for now we remain committed to supporting our client organisations, and the wider industry.

If you need anything, drop us a line at [email protected] Otherwise please stay as safe as possible.

English UK is providing comprehensive updates on Coronavirus/Covid-19 and how it is affecting the English Language Teaching sector