For most of us, the spread of COVID-19 is unprecedented, unexpected and unfathomable. What we once took for granted, is now at risk and we are forced to adapt to an entirely new reality. Business owners everywhere are now suffering a big hit due to the restrictive regulations and must find new ways to pivot their strategy as well as the way they market their business.
No matter who you are, a marketing veteran, a corporate CEO, or a small business owner, no one was prepared for this. Nowhere in Marketing 101 is there a section dedicated to global pandemics and how to address them.
We, at Promo.com, are in the same boat. While we’re all working from home, under completely new conditions, we went through a lot of trial and error before we were able to discover the version of who we are, what we sound like and what we can offer during this pandemic.
Our winning ad
At Promo.com, we’re in the unique position of being able to not only make our own ads but to make them with the product we are selling – our video maker. Pretty meta, huh?
But even for us, this is uncharted territory.
We’re not going to lie, we tried a bunch of ads, A/B tested copy and footage and threw a lot “idea spaghetti” against the wall until we found the exact right message that stuck.
This is one Facebook ad that stood out:
After publishing this ad, we immediately saw a higher than average engagement rate, including over 1,400 likes, 250 comments, and 220 shares. On top of that, we got numerous private messages to our Facebook account asking about our product.
The click-through-rate for this ad was 48% higher than the average of all our ads that week, including ads that have proven extremely successful in the past.
Since we began running this ad a week ago, we have already seen over 30 quality sales with an above-average ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). The conversion from registration to purchase was 60% higher than average.
We are not the only ones who think that this ad killed it. It caught the attention of other marketers as well. Hell’s Creative Agency published their own Social Distancing Awards and awarded this ad ‘The Best Staying Relevant Ad’ alongside ads from major corporations such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
Why it worked
Much of the time, the answer to this question is: We’re not entirely sure. We tested it against various ads until we found our winner. Our usual process includes isolating certain variables until we find the exact right composition of message, tone, footage, and music. This ad was no different and this is what we learned from it:
RTM – Real-Time Marketing
How out of touch would it seem if we posted ads that had no mention of the current situation? Real-time marketing, or what’s known as responsive marketing, teaches us to not only be proactive but reactive.
As the entire world is reeling from the impact of the coronavirus, advertisements without so much as a mention of the crisis seem outdated, irrelevant to real life and therefore, extremely unrelatable.
Unique selling proposition
By now, we should all know what makes our product uniquely valuable to our potential customers, right? Not entirely.
While it’s true that most should know the value of their product, we also must recognize that it can change along with the current circumstances. What made our product valuable to our customers a mere month ago, it’s not necessarily what makes it relevant to them today.
For instance, today, Promo.com’s video maker is more valuable than ever because it’s a tool to maintain your online presence and reach your customers at home. Find what makes your product relevant to your customers right now.
Staying true to our voice
Reality has changed so our business’s message must change as well.
BUT, our voice is what makes us the brand that we are and while we can change the messaging we must keep our identity. It’s what keeps us recognizable and top of mind. If you change your entire brand you might as well start from square one.
While tweaking the message to stay relevant, this ad is based on an old concept that was proven successful in past ads.
While we changed the theme to fit the current situation, our brand and voice remains the same.
A little humor
These are difficult times for everybody, whether they are impacted by the illness or the harsh restrictions that followed it, and it is important to recognize that. But with that said, there is a reason your social media feeds are overflowing with jokes and memes about the coronavirus and the dire situation in general. According to Barbera Goldberg at Reuters, “Mental health professionals say humor is a balm for soothing nerves, not just by tickling funny bones but also by decreasing stress hormones.”
That’s where the toilet paper comes in. Since the beginning of the crisis, toilet paper hoarding made its way from being a very real occurrence to a running gag. In the time of crisis, jokes “ should be rooted in commonalities rather than in differences.” That’s exactly why some jokes are perceived as unifying and some as crude and insensitive – in this case, the joke is something that everyone can relate to.
The most significant piece of advice that we can give you is – test, test, test, and test a bit more. Isolate your proven variables and run with them until you see the best results. We’ll continue sharing our results with you so you can learn from our success as well.
The actual video-making process couldn’t be easier. To create this specific ad, all we had to do is select from the many “toilet paper” clips in Promo.com’s stock library. Once we found footage that we liked, we added our copy and complemented it with background music, all in our easy-to-use video editor.
In light of this crisis, we are offering a FREE Promo Plan in our COVID-19 Support Hub for SMBs.