The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis may feel like anything but an opportunity for small businesses. Nonetheless, changes in purchasing patterns and consumer behaviors offer businesses a golden moment to stand out.
By taking the initiative to innovate as you navigate this uncharted territory, you can help ensure your business is in a stronger position to compete against other well-known brands as consumers develop new habits and the world enters a new normal.
In these difficult times having a solid digital marketing strategy is key to keeping business afloat. So, how can you use digital marketing to integrate into consumers’ purchasing patterns and make a strong comeback as social distancing guidelines are loosened?
Read on for our tips to help keep your business relevant in an ever-changing environment.
Tip #1: Offer a Solution
Attracting the attention of customers set in their ways once required a tough, and often costly, fight with big-name brands. However, in this day and age, it’s obvious that customers are willing to forgo brand loyalty and change their habits.
The population is shopping in new ways, trying out new brands, and venturing out to unfamiliar shops to purchase essentials. And this isn’t just anecdotal information. In fact, a study presented by MIT Sloan Management Review reports new brands accounted for over 30% of surveyed shoppers’ purchases.
As shelves are emptied of many sought-after items, what consumers are searching for is not necessarily brand recognition, but the particular features of a product. Instead of delaying purchases to wait for a preferred brand to arrive on the shelves, customers are now willing to stock up on something new as long as the unfamiliar product performs the same function as the familiar one. In this context, it’s not so important for brands to focus on why their product is the ideal version, but rather how it offers a solution to the customer’s needs.
Tip #2: Stay Visible
It’s easy to get a customer to try your product if it’s the only one of its kind left on the shelf. But what about online, where the options can often feel limitless? That’s where digital marketing comes in.
Now especially, it’s crucial you invest in a digital marketing strategy that helps build your brand’s virtual presence and facilitates familiarity and trust among your audience. Here are some of the main components of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy:
Engaging in Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is one of the best ways to ensure your website appears on the results pages for relevant searches. Since SEO is a long-term strategy, it’s important to understand that any efforts you put in now to optimize your website are going to pay dividends in the future. Using keyword optimization, improving the format of sitemaps, and using structured data are a few of the ways you can improve search engine rankings and help position your product or service as a solution to consumers’ queries.
With physical social distancing a must in many communities, people are turning to social media for both social interaction and information. This offers a great opportunity for brands to engage with their audience in a way that feels natural and helps bolster their presence online.
Remember that many people use social media as a form of escape, meaning they’re more open to humorous or uplifting content on these platforms. This isn’t the place for strictly promotional content, but it is a space where you can organically build a community around your brand without blowing your marketing budget.
Online Ad Campaigns
If your company has always relied on word-of-mouth marketing, how can it survive in a world where people are increasingly isolated from one another? Running an online advertising campaign is one way to spread the word about your brand as consumers spend more time in front of their phones and computers.
PPC ads allow you to insert ads in search engine results based on specific keywords. This kind of strategy is accessible to almost all businesses and makes it possible to target the right audience for a better return on your investment.
Tip #3: Adapt, Innovate, and Evolve
Now’s the time to show just how agile you can be. As you take your business online and reach out to a more open customer base who is willing to try new things, it’s important you’re ready to roll with the punches. Government guidelines and consumer preferences will change and the market will always evolve, but one thing will stay the same: businesses that choose to innovate in the face of uncertain circumstances will continue to thrive.