Marketing After COVID
Today’s marketing landscape is changing rapidly, and savvy businesses know that they must adapt their marketing plans in order to meet those evolving needs. Businesses cannot afford to fall behind. In fact, marketing through a crisis, including circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, can create amazing opportunities for your business. During the recession of 2009, Amazon’s stock grew by 28% because the company kept marketing–and because it shifted its premise and plan to meet the needs of its customers. By transitioning your marketing plans, you can position your business to operate more effectively in the market after COVID-19.
Enhance Your Digital Marketing Efforts
By June 2020, online sales were up more than 76% from the same time last year. While reopening efforts around the country have led some consumers to return to in-person shopping, that doesn’t mean all consumers are hurrying back into the stores. In fact, many customers may continue to shop online even in the post-COVID world. Many consumers will remain more concerned about potential exposure for a long time to come. Others have discovered the convenience of online shopping. As a result, your business must be prepared to address online shoppers and their needs.
Digital marketing is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal when it comes to reaching online shoppers. Almost as many businesses have seen an increase in customer traffic during the pandemic (27%) as have seen a decrease (28%). Continuing to utilize digital marketing strategies–and pivoting business plans to meet customer needs–have helped many businesses continue to see success even during uncertain times.
You may want to utilize several digital marketing strategies as part of your plan, including:
- Improving search engine optimization (SEO) so customers can easily find you when they need your products.
- Content marketing.
- Creating downloadable content, including ebooks and white papers.
- Creating pay-per-click (PPC) ads and increasing spending in that area.
While it may be tempting to decrease your ad spending during a period of economic uncertainty, history shows that the brands that continue to market during those periods often see increased success, not just during times of crisis, but as things return to normal. During the current situation, that means improving your digital marketing efforts to meet the needs of your customers.
Engage in Social Listening
Right now, consumers are online more than ever. Restricted from their usual activities, they’re spending more time with online communities. They’re talking about their needs and preferences. They’re using social media to feel more connected or as a source of entertainment. Daily Facebook use has increased by approximately 27% throughout the pandemic. This is a trend that may well continue. Not only does social media give you an excellent way to connect with your customers, but it also gives you a chance to listen. Consider:
How has the pandemic changed consumers’ needs?
It’s not just about offering hand sanitizer at the checkout lines or providing customers with delivery or curbside options, though those have certainly taken on more importance in many businesses. It’s also about how customer needs for entertainment and diversion have changed, how schooling needs have shifted with more parents having to keep their kids at home, and how consumers are changing their buying habits.
What do consumers really want from your brand?
Social media is the ideal place to learn what consumers really want from your brand. How do they want to connect with you? What do they have to say about your current offerings and the changes they would like to see? By engaging in social listening, you can get a better idea of what consumers want to see from you.
Reach Out to Your Customers
Your customers need to hear from you throughout this crisis. Reach out to them through email. Talk to them on social media. Connect with them directly whenever you can. Include team members in each department in brainstorming outreach efforts that will allow you to continue to reach your customers.
Think about how businesses have functioned during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re updating customers more regularly than ever. The Disney brand put together a Magic Moments campaign that allowed fans to stay connected from home, updated with videos, recipes, fun family ideas, and other content to help keep people entertained. For many consumers, that did more than just keep the brand top of mind during a difficult time. It also offered them a chance to build a deep sense of connection with their fans.
Savvy brands will take advantage of the emotional connection created during times of isolation and continue to build on it long after COVID.
COVID or no COVID, change is a certainty. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be a disadvantage for your business. Change creates an environment ripe for innovation and opportunity. In the face of the unknown, your business must remain flexible. If you can pivot your strategies quickly and adapt when necessary, you’ll find that you can better deliver on the needs of your customers and maintain your place in your industry.
Amazon remains a great example of embracing change, constantly adapting to the needs of consumers and offering new services and supports according to their needs–and it shows in the company’s overall success. Across industries, 84% of executives believe that innovation is incredibly important. Unfortunately, only about 6% of them believe their companies are taking the right steps to embrace it. That leaves room for your company to rise to the top of your industry and embrace the opportunities offered by innovation.
During times of crisis, including the current COVID-19 challenge, it’s more critical than ever for brands to continue their marketing efforts. By embracing the opportunity, staying flexible, and raising your digital marketing efforts – as well as communicating with and listening to customers more effectively – you’ll find that your business can weather the current situation and move into marketing beyond COVID.