The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to present new sets of challenges to Australian businesses. So how can we turn them into a positive? Depending on which sector you occupy, it might be impossible to keep up with pre-pandemic levels of business, but in many industries, the pandemic and its resultant lockdown will offer new opportunities.
In this article, we look at the ways in which your organisation can adapt to the pandemic with marketing strategies that allow you to retain as much of your existing customer base as possible, while also creating new business leads.
1. Communicate with compassion
If you believe that you've had a hard time of it recently, there seems a good chance that your customers will have done so, too. That's why it is important to show empathy when dealing with existing and potential customers. From the wording of your emails to the Christmas cards you send out and the way you answer the phone. Wishing a customer well doesn't cost a thing, and whatever the message you are trying to get across, it has never been more important to be polite and down to earth in your communications.
2. Digital marketing is your friend
With many of us confined indoors more than we usually would be, looking for products and services online has become routine. This has intensified the battle to build an online presence. Don't allow your competitors to edge ahead of you with their marketing activities - use the internet to your advantage and tick off all the digital boxes you need to. You might find yourself with a whole new revenue stream that you never had pre-pandemic.
Which digital marketing strategies you employ are likely to be dictated by what you have done thus far. Having a website which is optimised for search engines can be seen as a starting point. You can then focus on building up your content via blogs, audio and video - these can act as your tools to engage potential customers online, and in your social media channels, you have the perfect means to find the right audience. If you are looking for a 'quicker fix', you could combine organic campaigns with paid advertising online. Using Google Ads, you can bid for an advertising slot under the results for certain search terms. Like content marketing, online advertising can be best left to the experts, who can test and trial various campaigns with a fairly small budget until they identify the adverts which give you the best return on investment. The beauty of online advertising is that it's all measurable and trackable! No more 'taking a shot in the dark' with display ads.
3. Sort out your social media
As we touched upon in the tip above, your social media channels represent a brilliant opportunity to use content you have created for the purposes of engaging your audience. Firstly, you must ensure that you use the right channel. Are you a B2B focused business? In that case, LinkedIn and Twitter could be the best channels to achieve your online objectives. Alternatively, if you are more consumer-orientated, perhaps Facebook and Instagram will be a more suitable platform through which to connect with the right audience. It doesn't matter whether your posts are there to entertain, educate, or offer insight; the key thing is that you offer value instead of pushing for the 'hard sell'.
4. Give back if you can
Showing support for your local community, as well as your business sector, can be vital at this time. Show your company's caring credentials by marking yourself out from the rest. Whether it is starting an initiative yourself, or joining in with a worthwhile cause that seeks to help those affected by the pandemic; this is the time to show goodwill and concern for others. You might label this as corporate social responsibility (CSR), but in truth, it is just showing you care. Just as individuals can earn a reputation for somebody with a friendly or compassionate outlook, brands can, too - and this goes a long way.
5. Be transparent
Are you a company which has had no choice but to compromise an element of your service, such as your delivery times, prices or scope of your offering? Or perhaps you need to encourage customers to buy more because you risk going out of business? Whatever your predicament as a result of the pandemic, honesty is something everyone respects, including your customers. You might be surprised at just how much taking the time to explain your position or why you are forced to do something, can resonate with consumers. Be truthful about the changes the pandemic is forcing you to make.
6. Evaluate your email
If you are currently running email marketing campaigns or sending communications of any kind, they need to be reviewed in light of the pandemic. Are you sending them out too frequently, or too seldom, for your customers' change of circumstances? Is it time to freshen up your email content with different kinds of offers? Have you taken account of the shift in customer preferences, with many preferring to make orders online rather than in person? As we have emphasised above, whatever you send out in emails must offer something of value, rather than being a mere sales pitch.
7. Time to take stock
As we hopefully reach the end of the pandemic, there is a wish for things to return to normal. However, the fact is, some things just won't. That's why now can be the ideal time to take a look at your 'buyer journey' to analyse how well it is working, what is a problem, and what you should tweak. Gather all the data you can and make some insights, having an honest look at the performance of your business. Are you cut out for the post-pandemic landscape? Consider how you can switch up your marketing and customer communications - you might find some suitable ideas within this piece.
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