- On July 1, 2020
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Well, it’s official: COVID-19 has altered consumer behavior and the marketing landscape, quite possibly forever. As brands and marketers, our messaging, creative, and strategies – based on data and accurate insights – will need to adapt. Regardless of how long this temporary crisis lasts, we need to prepare now for the better days that undoubtedly lie ahead.
Below are several key steps that small and mid-sized owners and marketing teams can take to prepare and position themselves for the new, post-pandemic, normal:
1. Keep Communicating.
Now is the time for regular, pro-active communication with your customers and communities. Knowledge is power, and it’s up to us to share helpful and relevant information freely. But our marketing communications must go beyond the norm. We must continue to do even more than expected and over-communicate in a useful and non-annoying way.
No matter which channel(s) you use, actively keeping your audience in the loop and engaged will create necessary top of mind awareness now and provide opportunities for new business in the future. With many businesses still encouraging a WFH position, the power and engagement of strategic social media and personalized email content are off the charts right now. Lean in and use this unique season to your advantage.
2. Question Everything.
As consumers, each of us may easily view 10-20 different websites over the course day. We all know what a good web experience looks like and feels like, and we understand that our online experience shapes our perception of those brands. As business owners and managers, it’s easy to become so immersed with the day-to-day grind that we forget to look at our websites critically.
One in four consumers says that they’ve had a negative experience shopping online, over the past three months, suggesting brands have an opportunity to improve their e-commerce website experiences.
We encourage you to try this exercise (which we’re doing ourselves): Evaluate your website through your customers’ eyes: Is the experience positive? Can you get the information you want easily? Does the site load quickly? Are you communicating your unique value props clearly and as intended? Is your messaging on point? If your website is not built for mobile or is more than three years old, it might be time to explore your options.
3. Know Thy Brand.
Your brand is a composite of multiple touchpoints. Developing consistency in marketing communications across each is critical in building and maintaining trust with your audience. It’s also essential from both a branding and sales perspective. If each of your brand touchpoints isn’t in sync and working together to accomplish organizational objectives, a brand audit may be in order.
If you absolutely can’t take your hands off the wheel, find a qualified third-party to help you execute an objective brand audit. The actionable outputs and recommendations for improvements developed from the audit can make a measurable impact in the future. Let us know how we can help you re-define your true north.
4. Double Down On Digital.
Resist the urge to go dark with your marketing and advertising initiatives. Depending on what your competition is doing, this an opportune time to capture market share and take new ground (or lose it). Long-term research shows that the right approach during economic uncertainty is actually to increase your marketing spend. We’re experiencing this phenomenon firsthand for many of our clients who are going all-in on their digital and performance-marketing initiatives.
The principles of supply and demand are in full effect – it’s a great time to buy. We’re seeing significantly lower costs per click for our clients, and improved return on ad spend (ROAS). Search Engine Optimization is also a critical step in maintaining a robust digital presence. Clients can use SEO to help guide customers in this ever-changing environment. With E-commerce at an all-time high, SEO can complement your digital advertising efforts to bring in new customers and increase sales revenue.
Once the economy rebounds (and it will), you don’t want to be caught flat-footed and find yourself lagging behind your competitors. As Henry Ford famously said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
5. Build Your Brand Assets
Social distancing will remain the norm for the next six months (or more), which means that people will continue to value online resources and content such as videos, more than ever. Brands and organizations that are quick to create video-centric identities will fare better in this arena.
If your business activity is slower than usual, this might be a great time to look inward and take advantage of the downtime to build your brand assets, such as team photo shoots or corporate videos. Things are slower for photographers and videographers right now, so this can be a win/win opportunity if you’re able to make it happen.