Times are tough, human beings are resilient, and your business can be too.
COVID-19 has shaken up the world, to say the least. It has forced us to evolve in ways we didn't see coming. In comparsion, it may seem like marketing is an irrelevant topic amongst the bigger issues going on. However, it is through marketing that we are able to see some positivity and look towards brighter times for you and your business.
As the world of business and marketing continue to evolve and adapt to the times, here are some things to pay attention to.
The Rise of Virtual Gatherings
With the cancellation of almost all events, we've begun to see a huge increase in webinars and online events. If your business has thrived because of hosted events in the past, we'd encourage you to embrace virtual events as they grow in popularity. It's also important to recoganize that "Zoom fatigue" is a thing. People are slowly losing interest in the never-ending procession of Zoom meetings. There are many platforms and ideas out there to explore such as open forums, virtual classes, and even live giveaways that can generate attention and deliver considerable ROI.
Organic Social Media
As budgets are slashed and costs are cut, organic activity on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram have come to the forefront. Many consumers have looked to these sources to find relevant messaging to keep up with their favorite brands and companies during these times. The best part about this is that it is free! Shifting your focus to what you are posting on social platforms can make a difference in your consumer engagement and profits while building a lasting feeling of accessibility. On that note, remember that now is the time to exercise empathy and helpfulness. Redirecting your communication to touch on understanding of circumstances and less on cut & dry marketing pitches has proved successful for many businesses.
Paid Social Media
At the very least, organic posting is a complimentary way to utilize social media. However, if you do have wiggle room in your budget, paid social ads can be your friend. They are on the less expensive side of digital advertising. Again, morph your strategy to let your audience know that you are there to help! This avenue is a cost-effective way to get your message in front of new eyes while users are increasingly immersed on social platforms looking to connect in other ways than face-to-face.
Piggy-backing on a few points from above, it's not a bad idea to personalize everything. You want to make the consumer feel known, heard, and thought about carefully at this time. Focus on building and securing relationships now that will lead to growth in the future. Just because the markets have slowed, doesn't mean that consumers will forget the extra mile you went to make them feel appreciated.
Refresh Your Personas
More than ever, now is the time to listen and learn from what customers are saying and searching for. If you were already doing this before the pandemic, it could be time to shift intentions. For example, your product or service could perhaps be seen in a different light than in previous months or years. Start by asking yourself, how does my product/service help today? Doing research on specific key words and tactics that have changed due to COVID-19 can never hurt. Understanding your approach to an audience that may have altered their opinions can be crucial to success in the coming months as we navigate through this situation.
As mentioned briefly under organic social, be accessible and allow consumers to buy into the value you are providing. Sometimes the ROI of providing a premium or exclusive experience (such as free trials, offering info you normally wouldn't, "refer a friend" promos, etc.) for free can establish your buyers' trust, boost likelihood of repeat business, and encourage referrals to others. Leaning on these opportunities can be really beneficial currently while other "typical" options are off the table.
If you have amended your business hours or halted certain services, you might find yourself with extra time on your hands. Use that free time to reinforce best practices or master advanced skills! If you have idle time in your work day, use that to explore all of the innovative technology that has evolved with the virtual situation at hand. Allow your employees to research and acquire new expertise as well. Capitalizing on "free time" is an unfamiliar challenge for some of us, but it could lead to unexpected growth and opportunities in the future.
Overall, be proactive and flexible! If anything, we've learned that 2020 has tested many limits in our professional and personal lives. Take this as an opportunities to push the limits, beat the odds, and rise from the ashes.