This pandemic has taught us that our global world is more connected than ever before. One microscopic virus that spread across the globe ended up affecting every sphere of our lives.
The coronavirus is far from over and governments around the world are again putting in all the efforts to contain it by closing schools, public spaces, and borders. The coronavirus has affected almost all businesses and hence there is a need to adapt to these changing times to maintain and grow the digital presence of a brand.
Having a digital marketing strategy is no longer an option. If you do not easily provide information about your brand online and do not make efforts to engage and retain your customer base, you are certainly going to lose them. Let’s try to understand what a marketing plan is and how it can help to grow your business during this second wave of the pandemic.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is an overall strategy that explains how you will communicate with your target audience and influence them to buy your products or services. It includes all the relevant information about your brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers.
It describes where the company currently is in the market along with a road map for where it would like to be and in what timeframe. While the specifics can vary based on a particular industry, most commonly it intends to address the seven P’s – product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning, and people.
While promoting your products and services, it is essential to adhere to your marketing plan to stay in line with your brand identity. However, a marketing plan is a living document that should be modified to best fit the current needs of the marketplace. For example, the coronavirus crisis has caused drastic changes in consumer behaviour, and your business should prioritize to adapt to match consumers’ current demands.
Modify your marketing strategy to reach your audience during this pandemic
Emphasize the true relevance of your product or service.
As the needs of the consumer have changed, the relevance of your product or service might change as well. It is important to highlight how your brand adds value to your consumers and how it can be beneficial in their lives. Consider shifting focus from one product to another or differentiating your products and services to fulfill your audience’s current needs.
Meet current consumer needs
Try offering helpful tools and thoughtful promotions which can help to build brand awareness and loyalty as well. Think of different ways to help your customers to make a purchase, whether by promoting online services, or offering pickups, or providing live chat and support.
Increase your digital marketing efforts
Your consumers are online, so it is important to focus on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing. Update your website frequently and focus on establishing yourself as a leader through blogs, videos, social media, and other digital content. If you have the marketing budget for it, consider hiring a marketing professional agency like IMARTI MEDIA or social media influencers to increase your online visibility.
Modify your email marketing campaign
Focus on adapting your email marketing campaigns to address the unique challenges customers are facing. Instead of sending out the standard email content that you’ve always offered, change the tone, content, and frequency to match your consumers’ expectations. Try to understand how your emails are adding value to your audience.
Focus on social media marketing
Most of your audience is on social media, so use that to your advantage and take part in the conversation. Focus your marketing efforts on the social media platforms that are responsible for your customer engagement (such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). Create relevant posts that add value, educate, and entertain your audience, instead of strictly trying to make a sale. Try to engage, comment on audience posts, and adjust upcoming posts based on the current sentiment and feedback.
Communicate critical information
Communicate openly with your audience. Be transparent and honest while communicating with your targeted audience. Each state and industry have its own set of regulations and guidelines, keep your customers informed on how you are being impacted during this pandemic.
Even if you have to be shut down, don’t stop communicating with your audience. They need to know you are still out there, and they want to know when, if you will reopen, so make sure you’re sharing messages and updates frequently.
Incorporate your audience
This is an opportunity for you to show true leadership by re-evaluating your goals, adjusting timelines, and welcoming your audience to be part of the conversation. Invite your audience to help guide the direction of your business, as they will likely have valuable insights about what they need and how you can help. When you demonstrate to your customers that they are being heard, it builds trust and strengthens customer loyalty.
Show compassion and empathy
Your customers must be dealing with financial, emotional, and mental stressors, make sure to offer empathetic content that shows you truly care about them. Words are part of the healing process, and we can see that some leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with their messages that not only touch the mind but also the heart and soul. There has never been such an important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness, and timeliness.
Give back to the community
Try to help out your community in any way you can, whether that involves donating, volunteering, or collaborating with other businesses. Giving back to society will help you increase your community support, goodwill, and brand awareness.
Audit your sales funnel
As the market and time change, it is important to thoroughly audit your sales funnel and analyse the data. Conducting a competitive analysis can help you see what others in your industry are doing, helping you to evaluate what is working and what isn’t.
Run exclusive deals and offers
Offer exclusive sales promotions or deals to your customers. You can announce or even advertise these offers on social media platforms as well as send promotional emails to your customers. Such kinds of offers help to bring in new customers while also getting old ones interested in coming back. Offering discounts, freebies, and similar saving options could be the incentive customers need to engage with you.
Exert more effort on your social media marketing
Most people are preferring to stay inside their homes due to the second wave of COVID-19, and what do people tend to do when they are at home? They either watch TV, tune in to the news, binge-watch their favorite shows on Netflix, and of course, go online and spend time on various social platforms.
Most people are using their social media accounts to stay connected to their loved ones. They are also using it to catch up on the latest COVID related news. You, as a business owner, can make good use of this by subtly promoting your brand on these social media platforms.
You don’t have to sell your products and services openly – simply trying to engage with your consumers is enough to get their attention. Post relevant stories that can add value to your customers’ everyday lives during this pandemic. Make your posts interesting enough or your customers will just scroll through them.
You can try engaging with your customers by replying to their comments and offering help. You can also send them messages if needed, just to let them know that you are listening.
How can we implement a digital marketing strategy to grow a brand?
With social distancing, self-isolation, and remote working becoming the new norm, there has been a major shift in the marketplace from the supply as well as demand side, due to which there is a shift in the marketing paradigm. For brands and marketers navigating the COVID-19 crisis, simply reaching the customer has become a daunting task.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
- You can experiment with new types of content like video content. It doesn’t need to be professionally produced, but a video from an internal expert or influencer showing a hands-on demo of your product could go a long way.
- Try to indulge in the functionalities that platforms have introduced for engagement like polls on Instagram or Facebook. You can use them to benefit your brand by soliciting product feedback directly, or you can use them purely to entertain your audience.
- Spend your time to listen and keep an eye on comments on your post, your competitors, and influencers in your industry.
- Try to get your customers engaged with calls for user-generated content. Whether it’s a call for photos or videos of your product in use, or you want to do something just for entertainment and engagement, customers with more time in their hands who are spending more time online are most likely to engage with you.
- No matter what direction you choose now is the time to explore and look for new opportunities and set the stage for better, more engaging customer interactions now and in the future as well. While these efforts may not lead to a direct increase in purchases right away, they’ll help you stand out, and stay in touch, and to be a source of inspiration, entertainment, and information for your customers.
- These days, your customers are looking for ways to be social, to connect with others, and even to be distracted from everything that’s going on. Social media is the perfect platform for brands to engage with customers in this way and create opportunities for now and into the future.
- Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other tools provide insight into who exactly is visiting your website and what they are searching for. We can no longer assume the people we think are buying from us are the people finding what we want if we have the tools to show us whether conversions are taking place.
- Everything from your paid and organic social to the content you put on your website must be created to grow your loyal consumer base. Tap into the experiences of your audience. Use the tools available to find out who you should be targeting and make a conscious effort to market your brand to them as authentically as possible.
COVID-19 made it mandatory for marketers to rethink how their companies go to market and engage with customers. Those marketers who can leverage digital, social, and trusted relationships will be well-positioned to navigate ongoing disruptions. However, marketers across all industries should embrace lessons and investigate missed opportunities to add more value to their customers and brand.
While businesses need to understand that this situation is not going to last forever, it is not a once-in-a-lifetime scenario either. They need to retain their position when it comes to brand presence as it may be harder to recover later after losing the momentum; that’s how digital marketing favours your business in the long run.