When March 2020 hit, almost the whole world retreated into their homes. This caused a complete halt in many businesses, and it was evident that there was a long road ahead before anyone would go back to “normal”. No one had thought about applying marketing strategies to a world at home. Some companies realized this and immediately made sure they had a way to conduct business online. These businesses were able to slowly continue, and are probably doing well with partially in-person and partial online sales today.
Marketing strategies immediately began to change to accommodate these shifts. Many companies implemented virtual transitions in the first month, something that likely would have been spread out over a long period of time without the pandemic. Even with online sales in place, many companies were getting less business. Some had their supply chains completely put on pause– how could you market for products that can’t be made right now? And part of business slowing was because online shoppers only buy what they need. In person shoppers often buy things they weren’t planning on getting from waiting in line or seeing eye-catching displays. At first most advertisements I saw were about staying at home, appreciating our essential workers, or “we sell toilet paper!”
As the summer ends we find ourselves in a partially in-person, partially virtual, close, reopen, and close again limbo. Any business who is still making it can most likely sell their products or services online, but now what? People are still only buying everyday needs, as many special occasions could remain cancelled for the next year. So, many companies have turned their marketing efforts towards essential items, or convincing customers to look at something special as something to use everyday now.
Since customers aren’t browsing aisles buying things that they don’t need, companies who recreate that virtually can get a leg up. Instead of walking in the store and seeing a big summer display, focus on making your website landing page a big summer display. Then, instead of having things for your customers to look at while waiting in line, implement a pop-up saying, “customers who liked this also liked this, this, and this”. That will make people feel like they had a personal customer service experience. This can convince them to add a few more things to their cart as they check out. Many of these changes are likely to remain in place, even after the pandemic.
Limitations have been slowly lifting, but many consumers will continue to stay home. People may avoid stores and restaurants or not make any big purchases for a long time still. Focus on showing your customers that your products or services can be used from home, or can be seen as an essential item.
Empathy is very useful in digital marketing right now, so make your customers feel cared about. Show them that your business is still focusing on giving them a good experience from far away. A year ago, it would have been very weird for a restaurant worker to open the trunk of your car and put your carryout back there. Now companies are thriving off of socially distant customer service. When customers go to your website, many are looking for what your business is doing to make people feel safe.
Internet usage immediately spiked in March, and hasn’t gone down yet. As traditional growth slowed, the companies that took advantage of digital growth accelerating combated the pandemic the best. It’s never too late to focus on digital growth, though. Most office jobs and classes will be remaining virtual this fall. This makes digital marketing efforts a primary focus still.
How can your business show that you prioritize health and safety? How can you keep a personal connection with your customers over digital business? How can you make people feel safer as changes happen this fall? Having these questions at the forefront of your digital marketing strategies will make customers feel trusting, respected, and safe in your business. As policies go back and forth about whether your business will be virtual or in-person, having empathy and safety at the center of your digital marketing tactics will bring trusting and loyal customer relations.
Now is the time to make some positive changes to your business and website to stay ahead of your competitors. Contact us at Marketing Relevance, we can build you a website that is not only esthetically pleasing, increases brand awareness but brings in more leads. This will increase your company’s return on investment.