We are several months into the pandemic and the entire world is gradually getting used to the “new normal.” Businesses are slowly getting back on their feet and most economies are opening back up. From the consumer point of view, research has shown us how the pandemic has affected consumer behavior, and consequently how that, in turn, has affected or at least should affect the behavior of businesses. It is, therefore, important that businesses that hope to survive for the long term need to start now to adapt to these new patterns in consumer behavior if they hope to ride out this Covid wave.
This article aims to provide you with insightful tips on how best to adapt the marketing of your small business to the “new” business environment we find ourselves in. They are meant to help your business not only survive through the pandemic but also to serve as a guideline for longer-term resilience and growth.
Top Post Covid Marketing Strategies
It is an incontrovertible fact of running a business that proper and effective marketing is crucial to the survival of that business. One of the elements of effective marketing is the ability to adapt to the specific circumstances and environment that a business finds itself in at any point in time. The pandemic and the chaos it has caused mean that businesses have to adapt or make some tweaks to how they conduct their businesses, including their marketing function.
The specific tweaks that businesses make to their marketing should ultimately be guided by several parameters like the type of industries they operate in and the type and nature of products or services they provide. Generally speaking, however, some tactics that they can implement to adapt their marketing to the new environment they find themselves in include:
1. Show empathy to customers
Your customers have undoubtedly gone through hard times because of the pandemic and the various measures that were implemented by governments to limit the damage to people’s health and lives. The ultimate goal of your business is to maximize profits but perhaps this is not the time to be thinking about “maximizing” profits. Perhaps, during this trying period, your business should make empathy its watchword. This can manifest itself in various ways, some examples of which are:
- Providing (deep) discounts on your products or services.
- A buy now pay later option.
- An option to pay for your product/service over a period of time.
- Becoming involved in any community-related projects aimed at supporting members of the community.
- And more
2. Focus on existing customers and benefit from referrals
Using and relying on existing customers to bring in new ones is an age-old marketing tactic that is as old as marketing itself. But perhaps it is time to find better and more creative ways to use this method.
Again, as with most things, one size never fits all, so how one business implements this tactic will differ from how another business implements it.
For instance, a business lawyer that provides one-off services like entity formation or contract drafting or review for clients might reach out to past clients and ask them if they have a relative or friend who was laid off as a result of the pandemic who is thinking of starting a new business, in which case, the attorney can offer to help them form an LLC or any other appropriate business entity.
Alternatively, a company that is a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider might do things differently and ask existing customers on a one-year contract to get an additional year’s worth of service for free for every 5 people they refer, or whatever is appropriate.
Of course, that an existing customer will only be willing to refer your business, product, or service if they have had a positive experience with it, which is why it is important to ensure that you have a great product or service and that your customer service is top-notch.
3. Use social in a more strategic way
Most people know the role and importance that social media networks can play in the success of your business. Notwithstanding its positives, social media also has its downsides like its low conversion rates and the potential to get expensive.
The way in which most businesses use social media is by occasionally sharing content on their profile timelines, but perhaps the time has come for you to begin to use social media more strategically.
Some examples of more strategic things and ways that you can use social media include:
- Instead of only sharing content that you produce, why not find and curate relevant content that other people create and include your own unique take on the content, and perhaps tie it into your product or service.
- Run remarketing/retargeting campaigns on social media to reach people who might have visited specific pages on your website, continuing the job of trying to convince them as to why your product/service is right for them.
- Create a social media community that includes past customers or anyone who has engaged with your product/service and more importantly, keep that community engaged. This community can easily become a source of referrals.
4. Identify key advertising channels
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is arguably the most sustainable way to grow your business. Paid advertising, on the other hand, is probably the fastest way to achieve this objective. The ‘smart’ business owner will likely want to combine both of these mediums in their effort to try and survive these trying times, but just as importantly, in the longer-term objective of growing their business.
When it comes to paid advertising, whether on social media, display advertising, or on search engines, it is important to be strategic in how you go about it. From identifying the most relevant social media platforms or websites where your potential customers congregate, to being more strategic in how you advertise to them are just some of the things that you will need to do and consider in your bid to using key advertising mediums to reach your target audience.
5. Adopt good communication with customers
Besides a terrible product or service and ineffective marketing or sales function, there are very few other things that can ‘kill’ a business faster than terrible customer service and/or communication with customers.
The uncertain environment that we find ourselves in means that most people will likely be even more conscious of how they spend their hard-earned money. It is therefore safe to assume that they will not be too inclined to do business with any company that will not offer them the best possible experience. This experience includes and involves things like your business’s customer service or any other type of communication or engagement they have with your business.
It is, therefore, very important that you get this very fundamental, yet very important aspect of your business right.
Indications are that Covid-19 is here to stay and might be with us for a while. It is also very likely that the damage that the pandemic wrought on society will take many years to overcome. All of this does not mean we have to take things lying down. Pandemics and major disruptions to the business environment are not new phenomena. The fact that businesses in the past have been able to survive past pandemics and other major crises means that there is hope that your business will also survive this one, provided you take the necessary steps to do so.
Kanayo Okwuraiwe is a startup founder and a digital marketing professional. He is the founder of Telligent Marketing LLC, a digital marketing agency that provides lawyer SEO services to help lawyers grow their law practices. Connect with him on Linkedln.