How To Market Your Business In A Post-Pandemic World
For most of us, it’s our first pandemic, so that’s our excuse for not really knowing how things were going to go.
The pandemic didn’t just socially isolate us. In some ways, it rewrote all modes of social, personal, and professional interactions. No one ever thought of bumping elbows to say hello before this.
For some people, this is as close as they’ve ever come to being stranded on a desert island with nothing but their electronic devices praying the power doesn’t go out to make them lose a charge.
Since both organizations and consumers had no frameworks for such a disruption, everyone had to learn on the go. Things are still uncertain but we’re beginning to understand the needs of digital marketing in a post-pandemic world.
How The Pandemic Changed Consumer Behaviors
The first thing we need to analyze is how consumers have changed their behaviors during the past year and a half. This will set the stage for what digital marketers have to do in the post-pandemic market. Here are our ideas of what changed:
Increasing digitalization: With physical interactions and socializations ruled out, customers increased their digital usage. People spent close to eight hours every day on their digital devices last year. That kind of usage would get a teenager in big trouble.
Online journeys: More than ever, customers are now discovering products on digital platforms first. It’s online where they want to know more about a product from the brand and its users, find the best deals for it and then purchase it.
Rise of e-commerce: Globally, around 49 percent of shoppers now buy more online than before the pandemic. In the US, that figure is 62 percent. While the early rush for hygiene products has subsided, this shift is likely to be permanent for most categories.
Customized experiences: Consumers now expect brands to deliver personalized experiences as opposed to mass communication. Brands that succeed will be those that can tailor user experiences according to the specific needs and desires of the customer.
Values first: People expect not just great products, services, delivery, or customer relationship management. They also want brands to actively endorse values including sustainability, inclusivity, progressiveness, and ethical sourcing. Any brand that willfully or unintentionally chooses not to support these values will find it hard to hold onto customers.
How Marketers Need To Adapt To The Post-Pandemic World
To be successful in the post-Covid landscape, marketers will have to reassess their efforts. Digitally empowered customers and increasing competition demand that marketers reorient their strategies with the following considerations in mind:
The classical tools of segmentation are no longer the primary markers in a post-Covid world. Parameters like education, location, and life-stage, while relevant, are not what drive customer behaviors.
For example, according to the EY Future Consumer Index, five new categories of consumers have evolved over the last few months based on their sentiments:
· Affordability first
· Health first
· Planet first
· Society first
· Experience first
Marketers will have to identify their segment and tailor their communication and outreach accordingly.
One of the most demonstrable impacts of the pandemic was the non-linear adoption of technology. Companies leapfrogged platforms to embrace the most relevant technology. In this changed reality, the companies that succeed will be those who are nimble and agile to sense and adapt to the changing customer preferences.
This calls for a relook at existing technology stacks and to develop systems and processes that can better understand buyer journeys. Using customer data and artificial intelligence, the focus then should be to develop agile systems that can shorten cycles of communication, content delivery, media planning and buying, and audience analysis.
Search has gone local now as customers are increasingly looking online for products and services in their vicinity. Unless you’re a location-neutral digital brand, you will have to prioritize localization in digital marketing, content creation, and brand associations.
Your brand should be engaged with local causes and be rooted in its community. From restaurants to real estate, companies will have to localize their outreach for better resonance with consumers.
The key differentiator for elevated customer experiences and agile organizations would be automation. Marketers should automate all repetitive tasks with predictable outcomes. These include chatbots that can answer frequently asked questions on websites and software that can request customers to leave online reviews.
Companies that are hesitant to integrate automation will become slower and lethargic when compared to others.
Strategies To Adopt In Post-Pandemic Marketing
To improve your competitiveness and boost customer acquisition and retention, you should deliver enhanced digital experiences through the following action points:
Invest in Your Website
When Do-it-yourself website platforms first came out, we thought it might severely damage if not completely kill our web design business.
We were wrong.
What it did was simply prolong the sales process. We went from helping small businesses establish an online presence to hearing from those business owners about how their DIY website wasn’t doing anything for them
There’s a science to building a conversion-friendly website that a lot of people don’t understand. They don’t have to. They simply have to put their trust in people who do.
As one of the initial first steps of your digital marketing efforts, we would suggest you invest in a professionally designed website. It’s your digital front door and often the first impression your customers have of your business.
Optimize Your Website
Companies that undergo digital transformation are 26 percent more profitable than their counterparts, according to an MIT study. A crucial part of that strategy is to optimize your website experience to increase the number of visitors and convert them into users.
You can do that by creating and delivering top-notch content that’s relevant to the needs of your visitors. Keep your website uncluttered and easy to navigate and follow a content strategy that consistently delivers value to your visitors.
Ensure that your website loads fast by regularly checking Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Importantly, you should make sure that your website is also optimized for mobile devices.
Invest in SEO
The first page of Google’s search results gets more than 70 percent of all traffic. For most industries, page two and beyond is the Bermuda Triangle of all searches. To feature high on search results, you should primarily know what your prospective customers would be looking for.
Consider your search engine optimization (SEO) as one of the biggest aspects of your lead generation strategy. At Make It Loud, our fundamental belief is that your digital presence should be customized to the contextual needs and questions of your users.
If you know what your leads are worried about, what their pain points are, and what they expect from a solution provider, your website should be designed as the answer to those questions. You should know in detail both short-tail and long-tail keywords relevant to your users and then optimize your website with those.
Diversify Your Marketing Channels
While SEO is a long-term gain, you want more customers, like, yesterday. This is where paid search campaigns can help. Do the math on Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising for your business to begin getting calls while your SEO ramps up.
You might even find some traditional marketing techniques that pay off. We still belong to a networking group that brings in a nice annual salary worth of revenue each year.
Consider many different marketing channels for your business.
Use Marketing Tools For Data, Simplicity, & Automation
As a business owner, you juggle a lot of chainsaws. This means it’s tough to be good at it all.
If you want to be effective in digital marketing, you should automate as many tasks as possible. This will save you time and effort. You can use Google Analytics for data analysis and Google Search Console for researching keywords people use to find you.
Slack is ideal for collaboration and project management, and for CRM, you could try Zoho CRM. You should also use automation software for scheduling social media posts and for audience analysis. Importantly, you should seek the services of an established digital marketing agency to accelerate your efforts in a cost-effective manner.
We know a good one we could recommend to you. (psst. It’s us!)
Build a community
Your existing audience is your biggest asset. Instead of constantly chasing new customers, you should build a group of like-minded individuals around your brand experience. This will create a pool of customers for all your future products. For that, you need a content strategy that will give you credibility and expertise in your domain.
Email marketing, newsletters, social media posts, and blogs are some of the most effective ways to build a community of past and potential customers in the post-pandemic marketplace. All your communication should be designed to add value to your customers. You should be consistent in your outreach without constantly pushing your product or service.
When the pandemic hit, we had no standard user manual to help us deal with it. Companies had to scramble to find ways to deal with the changed reality. The objective was to roll out and stick with whatever works. As we slowly adjust to the new normal, digital marketing will have to adapt to the changing needs of customers and marketplaces.
If you’d like to kick around ideas on how your business might need to adapt, contact the staff at Make It Loud for a free initial consultation today. We’re here to help you find ways to put more money in your pocket.