Marketing Ideas That Drive Value During COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented circumstances to our clients and to our own business. We’re watching the news. We’re staying home. We’re supporting our team, clients, and colleagues as we all adjust to a new normal.

Part of that new normal is an increase in online activity, for sure. We’ve known the power of digital channels and a remote team for years, but now, more than ever, every firm needs to understand how their business can benefit through digital communications, marketing, sales, and service.  

At PMG, we’ve been a virtual company for 18 years. Our team has always worked from home. So in many ways, it’s business as usual. (And our dogs are happy about all the extra at-home play time after work.)



Of course, like all companies in this climate, we are watching every penny closely. And we appreciate that our clients and prospects are doing the same. While some have needed to take a critical step back from their marketing investment, others are stepping up to meet their customers where they are -- online. 

Here are some examples of awesome work our clients are doing to help their leads and customers during the pandemic:

We’ve also seen that, with fewer people traveling and spending time at live events, it’s a perfect time to invest some effort into foundational business activities - you know, those things that you know you want to do, but just have not been able to find the time?

We put together a list of low-budget ways your team can drive marketing value right now. If you have questions about the best way to implement these suggestions for your business, let us know. We can help you get started on the right foot. 

5 Low-Budget Marketing Wins During COVID-19 

1. Audit your existing blog content: 

Historical content optimization is a critical piece to an ongoing content strategy. The best part? Out-of-date content that is already performing pretty well is fairly easy to update. If you have a decent writer or product/service expert on your team, ask them for ideas on how to breathe new life into content that is performing moderately well on your site. 

Here are some tips for optimizing historical blog content:

  • Select content to refresh: Good (and easy) candidates for re-optimization perform at a moderate-to-medium range. This performance metric will look different for each business.

    But here’s a good rule of thumb: export all of your blog content by views for the past 12-18 months. Then, organize your spreadsheet by views -- with the most organic views at the top. The top 20% of your content is usually good to stay as-is. The next tier; blogs in the 21 - 40% range, are usually your best refresh opportunities.

    You’ll want to identify content that:

    • Was ranking at one point, but then started to drop off: this is an indicator that competition for your target search term has increased. See what else is ranking for that term, and write something that offers more value to your readers. 
    • References a calendar date or out-of-date content: for example if you have a best practices guide for 2016 in your mid-range performance, it’s time to update that date to 2020! 
    • Can be rewritten to help your audience during this difficult time: sometimes, putting a fresh spin on content is the best way to connect with your audience. 
    • Can be easily combined with highly related posts: Sometimes, businesses tend to focus their blogs on the same subject matter. Combining highly-related posts together and redirecting URLs to the top-performing link is a quick win for refreshing content. 
  • Re-optimize your content: We typically use tools like SEMRush to identify existing terms for which the blog post is ranking. This gives you insight into how to refresh the content of the post with a strong keyword focus. In general, we recommend the following steps:

    • Google your target keyword, headers, or blog title: What other posts are ranking? How long are the ranking posts? What subjects do they cover? What questions do they answer? Without directly plagiarizing, use the ranking posts to inspire how you can write something better. For example, if the #1 ranking post offers “ top 10 tips,” write a blog post that offers “12 tips.” 
    • Give your on-page elements a refresh: Apply SEO best practices to reoptimize your page tile, meta description, header tags, body text, and links. 
    • Get to the point: Don’t add too much fluff to the beginning of your blog. Give readers what they want, fast. 
    • Link to related posts: Interlinking blog posts is a strong way to indicate to Google what your blog post is ‘about’. Only link to posts that are related to the same overarching topic. 

For more on historical content optimization, check out this in-depth article here

HOW PMG CAN HELP: We can export an audit of your blog performance and help you identify your mid-range performers to get you started. 

2. Set up social monitoring

Social monitoring is a great way to meet your customers where they are right now: on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. With social monitoring and HubSpot's Social Inbox, you can easily see streams of people who:

  • Mention your business - to respond quickly to them
  • Mention your competitor - so you can see what trends and conversations they’re having, and offer your insight or engagement where it makes sense strategically
  • Mention target keywords - like common pain points, your product, your service
  • Mention target accounts - if you’re doing ABM, following your target accounts is a great way to make sure your name is appearing in their feed 

Note: while monitoring streams currently only work for Twitter, HubSpot’s other social tools can help you zero in on how people are engaging with your social channels. 

PRO TIP: Now is a great time to get your larger team involved socially as well. Create a document of great marketing and sales content, write awesome social posts for each channel to promote them, and encourage your team to copy/paste for an easy way to expand your social reach. 

GUIDE: How to set up social streams in HubSpot

HOW PMG CAN HELP: We can make sure your social media accounts are connected to HubSpot and that you have the right streams set up. We can also make sure you receive notifications of important mentions. 

3. Clean up your HubSpot portal or contact database 

Now is a perfect time to get your HubSpot or CRM database in order so you’re streamlined and ready to ready to rock when demand returns. Here are some ways you can clean up your database:


Contact Database

To protect your email sending score, you should consider removing the following contacts from your contact database: 

  • Remove unsubscribes: these contacts have opted out of content from you, so they cannot be marketed to directly. These are good candidates to remove.
  • Remove hard bounces: hard bounced email addresses also cannot be marketed to in the future, and should be removed to avoid clutter.
  • Remove highly unengaged contacts: if you have contacts that have existed for 2x as long as your usual sales cycle, and they haven’t engaged with the website, social channels, or email in a long time, it may be time to remove them. 
    • Alternatively - you can customize HubSpot’s default “unengaged” list to meet your needs, and prevent this group from receiving certain marketing emails.

For more about hard bounced contacts, read this article


Design Manager and Templates

If you’ve had HubSpot for a while, your cleanup may need to span beyond your contact database. Removing old templates, styling, coding, headers, footers, menus, and more can be an easy way to streamline new content creation for your team, and make sure only your approved marketing templates are in use. 


Audit Forms and Downloadable Content

Often we forget that our older offers are still alive and well on our site. Taking the time to make sure your content offers are still relevant and up to date is a great way to clean up clutter from your site. 

PRO TIP: Keep in mind, if you remove content from your site, you may still have links or CTAs pointing to that content. Always set up a 301-redirect to a related piece. And, consider auditing your CTA tool for instances of that CTA to replace with something more relevant. 

HOW PMG CAN HELP: We’ll create a list of unsubscribed contacts and bounces for you to audit and possibly remove. We can also help you identify low-performing downloadable content for possible removal. 

4. Run a targeted nurture campaign to your existing customer database. 

In difficult economic times, your existing customer database can become your most important list of contacts. Assure them that you’re there for them. Let them know how you’re weathering the storm. And encourage them to reach out if they need help. The most important thing is to be honest and genuine -- now is not the time to push an outright sale. 

It may be best to edit or pause your lead nurturing campaigns if the content doesn’t reflect the tone and sensitivity of a global crisis. New leads aren’t likely to understand that you wrote your automated lead nurturing emails two years ago, so be sure they are updated to reflect the current climate. 

PRO TIP: You don’t have to stop nurturing altogether. Sometimes, shifting your focus to a one-off, highly targeted, extremely thoughtful marketing message - like a newsletter that conveys a heartfelt message, along with helpful resources - is the best way to nurture your database in difficult times. This allows you full control over your messaging. HubSpot smart content modules can be a great way to serve up targeted content to specific audiences in a single email. 

Helpful Resource: Should the News Disrupt Your Content Calendar?

HOW PMG CAN HELP: We can show you what nurture campaigns and emails are live and launching so you can review them. 

5. Get on the same page with your sales team

Talk to sales and consider what content would help them close more sales so they have a stronger toolkit. Are they having to answer different questions than they usually do? What automated follow up can marketing help launch? Do they need a resource center to point new prospects to? How are sales automations aligning with marketing’s message?

Getting on the same page as sales, and providing them with the content and marketing materials they need to close more deals, is critical. 

HOW PMG CAN HELP: Strategic tagging of your blog is a great way to segment out targeted content for sales to use as a ‘resource’ center. If you have blog content that can be bundled together to help sales or your customers, we can tag them for you and share a listing URL that can be used in marketing. Note: Tagging only works for blogs right now, but if you need a more comprehensive resource center, let us know. We can help you determine the best way to gather that information on the site -- 

6. And more...

Looking for more? We put together a targeted resource page that we’ll update every week with helpful articles, how-tos, trends that are working during this time, and a lot of good news. You can get that link in any of our email signatures. 

Finally, know that your PMG team is here to help however your business needs during this time. We will stay in touch and hope you’ll do the same!



Maureen Condon | PMG Principal
About the Author
Maureen Condon, PMG Principal

Before Maureen Condon became one of the Principals of PMG in 2006, she was a writer and a business owner – which explains why she specializes in content marketing and strategy. Covering topics that will help businesses get real, measured results from marketing – success you can see in numbers – Maureen likes to back companies in their efforts to create a strategy, a compelling message, and programs that connect with prospects, clients and influencers in ways that drive sales. And she does so, with panache!