How to communicate with customers during the coronavirus crisis

How to communicate with customers during the coronavirus crisis

It’s hard to believe how serious the COVID-19 situation has become for South Africans. A month ago, it was some frightening thing wreaking havoc in countries far away. And here we are. Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on 5 March, the number of infections has risen dramatically, forcing schools, universities, and some businesses to shut down. As panic grows, more and more people are avoiding leaving the house even to buy food or essentials.    

There’s a lot of understandable concern about how social distancing and self-isolation will impact SA retailers’ ability to make sales. Global brands such as Apple, Starbucks, Nike, and Adidas have already been hit by the outbreak. Many have responded by shutting down their physical locations.   

Many businesses have executed their own communication strategies to inform customers how they plan to deal with the pandemic as well as sharing information on how customers can protect themselves. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to think about how you should keep your customers updated in these challenging times. Ideally, your crisis communication plan should include the following: 

  • Information on any suspected or confirmed cases on your premises. Don’t reveal the identities of any employees
  • The preventative measures you plan to put in place, whether or not you’ve been directly affected. This should include details on how you plan to improve sanitation and serve customers should you decide to shut down temporarily 
  • Information on how you are going to continue monitoring the situation 
  • Clear, compassionate, and understandable messages
  • A link to a dedicated web page where clients can find the latest information about your response 
  • Links to external resources like the government’s health website and World Health Organization website

Your communication strategy should use all channels available. Below are some examples of platforms used by big brands to get their messages across. 

Landing page banners

 

 

Website and app pop-up messages

 

 

Blog posts

 

Facebook posts

Dedicated pages e.g. FAQs

 

Email newsletter

In-store signage

 

By creating a response plan and continuously monitoring the situation, you are reassuring customers that you are prioritising their safety, and keeping their best interests at heart.At TMI, we’re doing our small part to help lower the risk of infections and avoid crowded spaces, for the foreseeable future. We’ve encouraged social distancing by moving our teams to a work-from-home setting, however there should be minimal disruption to employees and clients in terms of communication and work delivery.

 

TMI triumphs with spot on SA’s most favourite media agencies list

TMI triumphs with spot on SA’s most favourite media agencies list

TMI once again proved its place amongst the most-noted and long-respected names in digital marketing after being voted onto a prestigious list by our industry peers.

In a tradition that’s been running for seven years, MarkLives recently released the results of its Agency Leaders poll for 2019, and we are pleased to announce that we’ve been awarded joint runner-up in the category “most-admired media agencies in South Africa.” 

We’re in good company on this year’s list amongst The MediaShop, who claimed the first spot for the second year in a row, and last year’s runner up, PHD Media South Africa, whom we’re share the honour with. Agency executives and leaders evaluated agencies with the strongest reputations within their niche and across the industry, and based their vote on the agencies that displayed effective management and great creative leadership, and whom they believe will be their primary competition in the future.   

       TMI’s way of standing out is to not phase ourselves with what others are doing in the industry but instead focus on the business partners we are servicing and the teams that make it all happen. Our people drive our success; [it’s through] having great people who have developed great partnerships with our clients.

– Lauren Foster, TMI MD

 

We always want our teams to feel proud to be a part of TMI, so receiving endorsement and recognition for what we do is a true reflection of our success as an agency. We are extremely thankful for both the separate and collective input of each TMI employee to our dynamic agency. As we enter the new decade, we look forward to continuing our industry-leading approach to how we service our clients and develop our people in this always-shifting digital marketing landscape. 

 

It’s still life in the slow lane for SA internet users

It’s still life in the slow lane for SA internet users

The internet, for the most part, seems like such an uncomplicated thing. 

But behind the scenes, it’s a huge spaghetti-mesh of really long cables that endlessly ping data back and forth between continents. In this age of mobile data and Wi-Fi, few people give thought to the existence of internet cables. But, it’s said that ninety-nine percent of international connections happen via these wires, which are located on the ocean floor. 

And, their depth can easily match the height of Mt. Everest. So, as you can now imagine, there’s a lot that can go wrong. 

Like sharks nibbling on the cables (there’s actual video footage of a shark trying to take a chunk out of Google’s underwater cable). Or a ship’s anchor accidentally getting caught in a wire. 

 

 

Whatever the case, cable damage can reduce an entire country’s internet to a snail’s pace. Which is exactly what South Africans have been experiencing for the last couple of days. The South Atlantic 3/West Africa (SAT-3/Wasc) underwater cables, which connect Portugal and Spain to South Africa, as well as the West Africa Cable System (Wacs), which connects South Africa with the United Kingdom, suffered spoilage. 

The international cable downtime impacted most large internet service providers in South Africa, including Webafrica, Afrihost, Axxess, and Mind The Speed. These ISPs have, meanwhile, resorted to Plan B: buying additional international bandwidth on other undersea cables.

Like all companies whose infrastructure is based online, we were hoping for a quick end to the unwelcome outage. But by Monday, it became clear that South African internet users have more 404s, blank pages, and buffering videos in store. Which is kind of putting us back into the era of dial-up internet. You know, the days when loading a video actually took longer than watching the video itself.

There’s no reason to panic though. Two cables that break down at the same time isn’t the start of the internet apocalypse. But reports indicate that repair work could take two weeks. For now, we can pin the blame for the delay on Cape Town’s notorious gale-force winds, which battered the city at the weekend, delaying the dispatch of the Leon Thevenin, the repair ship meant to fix the problem. 

 

Looks like it’s time to play the Google T-Rex dinosaur a little more seriously, and see if we can set a new personal record

 

Here’s what South Africans really wanted to know from Google in 2019

Here’s what South Africans really wanted to know from Google in 2019

December must be a fun time for Google, because that’s when the company gets to take stock of a year’s worth of search data and identify the queries and events that interested people the most. This year’s results once again proved that there’s no such thing as a silly question. Or is there? You decide for yourself after reading Google’s Year In Review report

From discovering interesting facts and learning new skills to finding a nearby business and the latest celebrity obsessions, Google truly is the answer to all questions, especially the ones people are too embarrassed to ask their parents, best friend, coworker, or some stranger on the street. The latest results not only offer insights into the curious minds of South Africans but also highlight the year’s biggest events that have captured their attention. 

Those hoping to see news makers such as the royal tour to South Africa, the KFC proposal, and the world’s second sexiest accent, Afrikaans, on the list, will be disappointed because as it turns out South Africans were more interested in the quirky origin of their breakfast cereal. Ironically, everyone’s least favourite words “load shedding” was the most popular phrase this year. In bidding (pun intended) adieu to the decade, Google also recapped the top searches between 2010 and 2019, with load shedding and Corn Flakes featuring prominently over the last ten years. 

Check out the top searches for the year and decade below. 

 

Top trending questions

  1. Why were cornflakes invented?
  2. What time is the rugby world cup final?
  3. How many votes for a seat in parliament
  4. How did Cameron Boyce die?
  5. How long is a rugby match?
  6. What is Bosasa?
  7. What time do voting stations open?
  8. Who won the election in South Africa?
  9. What is media?
  10. What is teenage pregnancy?

Top trending questions of the decade

  1. How to make slime?
  2. Why were cornflakes invented?
  3. How to get rid of belly fat?
  4. How to lose weight in 3 days?
  5. Where am I?
  6. How many weeks in a year?
  7. How to create an email?
  8. How to grow hair fast?
  9. What is depression?
  10. How to draw eyebrows?

Top ten trending searches

  1. Load shedding
  2. Election results
  3. Thanos
  4. IEC
  5. Fiona Viotti
  6. Black Friday Specials
  7. Gavin Watson
  8. Mark Batchelor
  9. Teacher’s Day
  10. Hoërskoel Driehoek

 

Top trending searches of the decade

  1. Load shedding
  2. Uzalo
  3. Meghan Markle
  4. Zodwa Wabantu
  5. Baby Shark
  6. Cardi B
  7. Game of Thrones
  8. Thanos
  9. Nicki Minaj
  10. Amapiano

 

Top ‘near me’ searches

  1. Job openings near me
  2. Parks near me
  3. Restaurant near me
  4. McDonald’s near me
  5. Hotels near me
  6. Hair Salon near me
  7. Voting Station near me
  8. Petrol station near me
  9. Makro near me
  10. Woolworths near me

Top trending South African personalities

  1. Neyi Zimu
  2. James Small
  3. Xolani Gwala
  4. Chester Williams
  5. Andile Gumbe
  6. Siya Kolisi
  7. David Kekana
  8. Faf De Klerk
  9. Peggy Sue Khumalo
  10. Robert Marawa

Top trending sports searches

  1. Rugby World Cup
  2. Cricket World Cup
  3. India vs South Africa
  4. Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates
  5. Afcon
  6. Bafana Bafana
  7. Cricket live scores
  8. Proteas
  9. PSL Standings
  10. Stellenbosch vs Kaizer Chiefs

 

Top trending movies searches

  1. Avengers Endgame
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. When They See Us
  4. Aquaman
  5. Lion King
  6. John Wick 3
  7. Joker
  8. Hustlers
  9. Birdbox
  10. A Star is Born

Top trending music personalities

  1. Johnny Clegg
  2. Thami Shobede
  3. Nipsey Hussle
  4. Mampintsha
  5. Oliver Mtukudzi
  6. Nichume
  7. Ndlovu Youth Choir
  8. Babes Wodumo
  9. Pitch Black Afro
  10. Kabza de Small

More than 40 000 search queries are submitted to Google every second. This equals to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. “This year’s trending searches show South Africans’ keen interest in the world and people around them. Pop culture, sports and politics captured the nation’s attention. Nine of the 10 top trending search terms were for local people, news and events,” Google commented on this year’s results. 

 

Four ways search ads can benefit your SEO

Four ways search ads can benefit your SEO

Digital marketing is a multifaceted industry, whose various practices have been put in place in order to ensure a brand’s online presence is expanded and ultimately accessible to a substantial and loyal customer base. Two of its most notable tools are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). These channels belong to the respective spheres of Earned Media and Paid Media, but that’s not to say they aren’t compatible with each other. In fact, PPC can prove to be extremely beneficial when it is integrated with SEO practices. Here are four reasons why.

  1. Valuable Keywords

Keywords are an important aspect of any PPC campaign or SEO strategy. No matter which of these channels you’re using to help your brand appear more prominently on Google, you still need to do a significant amount of thorough keyword research. But SEO and PPC do differ in terms of how quickly results show. While the former takes some time, the latter is almost immediate in how it reveals which keywords will work and which will not.

The benefit here is that the data you’ve acquired from your PPC practices can contribute towards your SEO campaign. You’ll have a better idea of what web users are searching for and what keywords they are using, and your SEO strategy will be more effective as a result.

 

  1. Remarketing

Imagine a scenario in which your brand’s website is attracting a substantial number of visitors and it’s all down to your brilliant SEO strategy. That being said, these visitors merely browse your website and leave it before making a purchase. That is not the desired outcome of directing a web user to your site. Your want their final action to be a purchase, and you can make this happen with some help from PPC.

Basically, PPC will offer you the chance to do some remarketing. While your SEO practices have made an impression on your prospective customers, the Pay-Per-Click advertisements you have created can build on that impression, leading customers beyond the browsing stage. Your brand’s products and services will already be in the mind of the customer and a well-placed advertisement has the chance to drive that customer back to your website, where the desired action will be completed. Thanks to the help of PPC, a purchase just might be made.

 

  1. Smarter Decisions

SEO and PPC campaigns can often share the same metrics, from conversion and click through rates to bounce and exit rates and the time a prospective customer spends on a website. You can therefore combine data from both these channels, using it to make well-informed decisions for your brand. You’ll be able to ascertain which of your keywords are merely generating traffic to your website and which are able to generate sales. Added to that, after analysing these metrics, you’ll be more able to determine which visitors to your website are interested in making a purchase and which aren’t. With all this information you’ll be able to make better decisions regarding your SEO.

 

  1. More Local Leads

If your brand is location-specific you’ll want people in the immediate vicinity to come across it when they Google products and services related to your brand. That’s why you should use PPC ads for local searches, as these will help increase the number of local leads to your website. Properly optimised ads will appear on Google searches, while a good SEO strategy will ensure your site shows up on the first Google search page. PPC will therefore improve your presence on Google.

 

PPC and SEO might represent two different sides of digital marketing, but they work well together. The proper use of PPC practices can easily enhance the benefits of a well-formulated SEO strategy.