As the world grapples with COVID-19, it is imperative to take into account what the post-COVID world is going to mean for those of us in the digital marketing realm. The pandemic has accelerated the speed at which we are “going digital” and has given new power to many online industries. Never before have we been so dependent on Amazon or Zoom to simply get through the day, which means that as digital marketers, we want to make decisions that use this new reliance on technology to our advantage.
This article is going to cover six ways to do that. I’m going to discuss:
- The strategies that you can and should put into place to market successfully in a post-pandemic world.
- Tools you’ll want to have by your side to increase your efficiency and increase your ROI.
- Ways to use your pre-COVID foundation to build a well-run system that works for you.
Let’s get started.
1. Focus on the customers you already have
In addition to creating services and ad campaigns to target their new needs, you may also want to issue refunds to clients who had prepaid memberships or were on auto-pay during the lockdown period. While this could hurt your cashflow for the short term, the money you give back will most likely come back to you tenfold when the economy restabilizes and your now loyal customers are ready to start buying again.
Neil Patel, for example, started to offer his premium UberSuggest features with the free version. But while he saw a decrease in free trial signups, he did see an outpouring of appreciation from dozens of people within the industry, emailing and thanking him, and some even buying the paid plan as a gesture of their gratitude.
Also, while he did not see more money coming in, he DID see more traffic coming in.
The point is, look out for your customers, clients, and coworkers when times are tough and unemployment rates are high. They will thank you for it in some way or another. And you will likely see growth in other areas such as customer loyalty, brand awareness, organic traffic, social media engagement, and maybe even new prospects.
The point is, look out for your customers, clients, and coworkers when times are tough and unemployment rates are high.
2. Move everything online
With the lockdowns and travel restrictions of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that everything is shifting online. Scott Jones, the CEO of 123InternetGroup told Forbes that they have seen a spike in companies who want to create or update websites, create new social media campaigns focused on home-based workers, and focus more on ecommerce trends and channels.
Now is the time to increase your online presence. You likely already have some of your business functions online (perhaps you’re using one of these 64 affordable online marketing tools) but the pandemic has shown us just how much more we can do online.
For example, you could automate your email communication or even your services. iNECTA, a cloud ERP software for the food industry now allows customers to receive merchandise, track lots, create invoices, and manage their food business all through a tool that is 100% online.
The same goes for something as basic as online classes. Preply, a language learning company, saw a spike in sales after COVID-19 because they were ahead in the game. No matter what industry you are in, there are always more things you can take online, and having those capabilities will help to set you apart from your competitors and stand out to potential customers.
A couple of ideas on what this might look like:
- Investing in a good customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Hosting informative webinars to build trust and attract new customers, or even to employees to take their skills up a notch.
- Supporting your employees’ work-from-home needs.
The bottom line is, the more processes you can bring online, the more you can stay engaged with your customers and employees, which is crucial for a business to stay resilient and thrive.
The more processes you can bring online, the more you can stay engaged with your customers and employees, which is crucial for a business to stay resilient and thrive.
3. Invest in Facebook ads
As more people spend time at home and on social media, the ROI on PPC ads in many industries has skyrocketed. This is a good way to remind people that your business is alive and well and that you aim to be a very significant part of the ‘new normal’.
Facebook ads in particular are quite affordable—even for local businesses—and can help you showcase any changes you have made to your business or any COVID-19-exclusive discounts or promotions you might be offering. Online ads have always been engaging, affordable, and well targeted, but now more than ever before, they offer you the ability to truly scale your business.
With Facebook’s granular audience targeting capabilities, you can reach customers based on gender, location, hobbies and interest, marital status, profession, and the list goes on.
To see all of Facebook’s ad targeting options, check out our epic infographic here.
The pandemic has also lowered the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on ads since companies do not have a very big marketing budget to play around with. This is a good time to invest in a good Facebook ads strategy that can serve as an affordable way to bring in leads and sales that will help you make more money.
Advertising messages are most effective when they are consistent and repeated. Which is what makes Facebook retargeting another strategy to try during/after the COVID-19 pandemic. With retargeting, you target your ads at people that have already had some form of contact with your brand. Referring to my first point about investing in your existing customers—it really is the same logic.
4. Run exclusive deals and offers
As businesses begin to reopen, a good way to get people interested in coming in is by offering exclusive sales promotions or deals. You can announce or even advertise these offers on social media platforms as well as promotional emails.
These kinds of offers will help bring in new customers while also getting old ones interested in coming back. This idea can work for multiple industries (theatres, spas, gyms, etc.) but it works particularly well for industries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus—restaurants and travel, for example.
Discounts, freebies, and similar saving options could be the incentive customers need to invest in you. You could even offer membership deals for customers that choose to invest in you during a certain time period. This will help you earn some money even when times are tough.
5. Give your communication strategy an overhaul
As people’s priorities and schedules change, the previous communication strategy you had in action may not be right. It would be wise to rethink the newsletters you are sending out, the content you are creating, and the general approach you have towards your customers.
This could mean redoing your content calendar altogether or maybe putting some blog posts on the backburner while you focus more on articles that cater to doubts, fears, and questions related to the current situation. This also means that you need to take the time to get to know your post-COVID-19 customers.
One way to do this is to send out an email survey with questions about their current priorities, pain points, and desires. Make them easy to answer (multiple choice or choose a point on a scale), but keep some questions open-ended because this way you might discover a few golden nuggets of information about your customers.
You can then use this information to rethink your communication strategy and serve your customers better.
You may even give your ads, emails, videos, webinars, and podcast episodes an overhaul so you are keeping the current priorities of your customers in mind. (For more help in this area, head to our post on marketing during COVID-19).
Mediavine, an advertising network geared towards bloggers, did a great job with sending out regular emails both during and after the peak of the pandemic, with helpful resources, updates, and supportive messaging. Taking the time to communicate to your clients that you are there for them right now will have a lasting impact beyond the pandemic.
6. Focus on a few main paid advertising channels
As I mentioned above, PPC ads are the way to go right now but focusing on Google Ads, LinkedIn ads, Twitter ads, Facebook ads, and Instagram ads all at once is going to you no good. You need to figure out where your target audience is hanging out and then focus most of your PPC efforts on those channels.
So, for example:
- If you are a beauty business, your target audience is likely to be on Instagram.
- If you have a more serious business like an addiction treatment facility, you could focus more on Google.
- If you have a business-related tool or service like a keyword research tool, LinkedIn would be your go-to.
Use these strategies to survive and thrive in the age of COVID-19
Having a few solid digital marketing strategies to depend on while the world settles down can not only help your business get back on its feet but also give you a headstart against your competitors. The key piece of advice you should keep in mind is to focus on your customers’ priorities as much as your own.
The key piece of advice you should keep in mind is to focus on your customers’ priorities as much as your own.
They are the people that make your business and they are the ones who are going to help you grow it—no matter what your strategy is.
About the author
Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his path from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on www.awesomex.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.
Feel free to follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.