COVID-19 got here quickly – leaving people with little to no time to adjust. Consumers had to work from home, embrace social-distancing-friendly behaviours, and re-evaluate what they considered as most important in their lives. For any attentive marketer, these quick shifts led to monumental changes in consumer behaviour.
For instance, consumers became more digital and eco-friendly, according to PwC's June 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey. Most also became price-conscious, local, data-conscious, and more invested in their health. These changes in consumer behaviour called for changing conventional marketing strategies for most businesses.
Marketers that had been embracing digital-centric marketing strategies saw an increase in their ROI — those who hadn't needed to pivot digitally. The truth is that most of these changes to conventional marketing strategies might be here to stay post-pandemic. If you haven't embraced them yet, now would be the time to start. The question is, what marketing strategies should your business embrace during the pandemic and post-pandemic periods?
Start by Building Trust Through Marketing
COVID-19 has seen consumer trust dragged through the mud. Between government failures in dealing with the pandemic, corporations' thinly veiled attempts at trust, and social change movements, consumer trust has never been hit this hard. Even worse, consumers are facing uncertainty in multiple facets of their lives, including finances, health, family, and work.
Once you factor in all these issues, the increased scepticism from customers makes sense. People are now getting more intentional with the brand they trust with their money and time. Showcase your business as a trustworthy brand, and you get to win multiple customers. In fact, trust is the second most important factor consumers consider before buying from a new brand or turning into a loyal customer.
How to Successfully Market Your Business Post COVID-19
Trust has to be earned. Your challenge is to prove to customers that your brand is the right choice for them amid uncertainty. You can start with:
- Promoting transparency: Customers are increasingly interested in understanding the brands they interact with. What are your employee policies? How are you fighting climate change? Such questions matter to the modern customer. Establishing transparent business practices that showcase your stand on different issues will increase consumer trust.
- Establishing and investing in a business purpose: Companies that have helped people throughout the pandemic have gained a few points on the trust scale. Customers wish to be associated with brands that go above and beyond for the immediate society. Look for corporate social responsibility opportunities that shine some positive light on your brand. While this strategy might eat into your profits, it results in better trust levels.
- Practising emotional intelligence: If your marketing communications are tone-deaf, you are likely to lose a lot of customers. People are constantly drowning in frustrations, and brands that showcase empathy in their marketing practices can win these consumers over. Use social listening to learn what consumers are talking about. You can use this information to inform your marketing campaign.
Your website would be the perfect platform to build trust. Besides ensuring the site's design looks trustworthy enough, you should include messaging that draws customers towards your brand.
If you haven't established an e-commerce wing for your business, you are likely to be missing out. 80% of global consumers shopped online in 2020. This statistic means that people are becoming more invested in buying items online. Besides being convenient for consumers, e-commerce has provided pandemic-friendly shopping alternatives.
E-commerce competition has also been increasing over the years as more businesses tap into it. In fact, the pandemic accelerated ecommerce adoption by five years. With more businesses embracing e-commerce, being left behind the curve could affect your bottom line. For starters, your competition could be offering better customer experiences than you are from a brick-and-mortar store. Consumers will definitely continue shopping online post-pandemic, meaning that you could lose customers, especially the younger generations.
Your goal should go beyond just establishing an e-commerce wing for your brand. You should embrace practices that increase your chances of thriving online. Some great practices for success in the e-commerce world include:
- Leaning heavily on content marketing to build brand and product awareness
- Improving customer experience both through your e-commerce site and products or services
- Accepting multiple, popular payment options for easier check out processes
- Establishing a generous refund and return policy
- Offering flexible shipping options
- Working out ways to improve customer trust
While e-commerce giants like Amazon might feel like formidable opponents to your success online, there are ways to beat them. You can start by niching down your e-commerce platform to establish yourself as an expert to customers. Also, showing your brand's human side could resonate well with customers who are repelled by faceless e-commerce giants.
Focus on Building a Strong Online Presence
87% of consumers begin their purchase journeys online. In these situations, they are looking to learn more about a product, the best deals out there, existing customer reviews, and popular alternatives. If your brand has a weak online presence, you are missing out on potential customers.
Building a strong online presence allows you to communicate with customers at different stages of the purchase journey. For instance, you can use simple explainer videos to spread brand and product awareness. Social media posts would also be ideal for hyping up product launches. Whether you are building your online presence from scratch or reinforcing it, here are some best practices to follow:
- Create an attractive website: Your website should be your online spokesperson. As a strong lead magnet, it should be a single source of truth for everything to do with your brand. You need to ensure it has a responsive design, consistent brand messaging, stellar CTAs, and trust-inducing elements.
- Create profiles on review sites and listings: Customer reviews can draw attention towards or away from your business. Understanding what customers are saying about you allows you to adapt accordingly. Create profiles on review and listing sites like Google My Business and Yelp for an easier time getting found by customers and interacting with their reviews.
- Focus on social media: Social platforms provide an easy way to humanise your brand, listen to your target audience, promote your products, and direct people to your website. Learn more about the social sites that work for your brand and how to maximise them. For instance, you need to learn the appropriate hours for posting and how to increase your posts' reach.
- Use content marketing right: Create content for your website, social media, or industry forums. You can repurpose some of your best content pieces into infographics, videos, or podcasts to reach a wider audience. Ensure that your content addresses common consumer pain points.
There are many more ways to establish a strong online brand presence. The easier it is for people to find your brand online post-pandemic, the easier launching successful marketing campaigns will become.
Lean Heavily on Data-Driven Marketing
Budget constraints, high competition levels, and demanding customers make it impossible to 'wing it' in marketing. Lucky for you, data could be the solution for high ROI marketing strategies. Data houses a lot of untold stories. When utilised, it can create marketing opportunities that could result in more sales and profitability.
For instance, data could help you understand your target demographic at a granular level, which could result in more successful ad campaigns. You can use it to gauge your competition and even draw insights into industry trends. Sadly, 87% of marketers see data as their most under-utilised asset.
All you need to embrace data-driven marketing is the right tools and a database. Start with establishing the right data that your business should focus on. You can draw first-party data from brand interactions with customers or look for third-party data. For instance, you can conduct customer surveys to learn about specific customer interactions with your brand.
Next, establish brand objectives to give your data-driven marketing some direction. For instance, you could aim at increasing brand awareness through data or revamping a specific service. Once you establish your objective, proceed to analyse the data you have collected. The insights you draw should inform your next move.
For example, you could need to market your products differently to resonate better with customers. The most important part of data-driven marketing is to set metrics for monitoring the solutions you come up with. This ensures that you can track the success of your solutions and make tweaks when necessary.
Embrace Brand Personalisation
No consumer wants to feel like just another statistic. People crave being heard, seen, and listened to. That's why 80% of consumers prefer buying from brands that offer personalised experiences. If you want to market your business post-COVID-19, let go of one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns. Customers who have already been spoiled by personalisation giants like Netflix and Amazon now expect it from their favourite brands.
While customisation isn't always easy, it is achievable. You don't need to reach the personalisation level of big businesses; you just need to make small tweaks that make the customer feel appreciated. The starting point of your personalisation journey should be in segmenting your customers. You can identify customers based on their age, gender, location, and even buying attitudes.
You can then use these segments to create unique purchase journeys. For instance, since different customers want different content, you can look for a tool that will recommend content based on your customer segments. The good thing with personalisation is that there are marketing tools that can do the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to focus on what matters.
Make Your Marketing Campaigns Customer-Centric
While the pandemic has upended the norm, one aspect remains the same; your customers should be at the centre of your marketing strategies. Your goal is to resonate with them, speak their language, and ultimately encourage them to purchase from your brand. Since post-pandemic marketing is highly contingent on a strong online presence, creating a strong website would be a great place to start.
Contact us today for help to build a rewarding online presence.