The worldwide pandemic certainly ushered in the new year in with a bang. Many companies and non profits alike found themselves struggling to stay afloat under forced lockdowns, while others have thrived as communication and commerce went digital. Wherever you fall in between, your company or nonprofit has no choice but to adjust to the challenges of a COVID-19 world. We’ve outlined some of the most crucial changes in marketing so you can pivot your strategy and stay ahead of the curve.
Here's the Problem...
Many marketing methods and channels prior to 2020 either abruptly died or were hindered by social-distancing mandates. Companies and nonprofits that previously used window signs to garner foot traffic suddenly found themselves trying to survive in a community that rarely saw people out in public. Others who depended on conferences or live events to connect with their audience found themselves suddenly isolated from their prospect bases. Many companies and nonprofits decided to drastically pull back on paid advertising, essentially halting all traditional marketing efforts to prevent the draining of financial resources even further. By pulling back rather than pivoting, many companies and nonprofits are operating in a limited capacity or have permanently closed their doors.
The Big Shift
While some found themselves folding, others saw increasing sales and customer engagement beyond their wildest expectations. Agile companies, who quickly realized the collapse of traditional methods, immediately took action after observing where customers were going to meet their needs: online.
Almost overnight, online sales skyrocketed. ISP’s (internet service providers) saw a staggering increase in network traffic, meaning millions of people went from driving to their favorite stores, to surfing online for almost everything. Whether it’s a remote worker taking a break to buy items online, or an immunocompromised adult buying their daily needs — the buying public has moved almost exclusively online.
The Pivot You Need To Make
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to capture your customer’s attention online. Some savvy companies are offering discount coupons via text message to let their customers know they’re still able to fulfill orders. Other companies have increased marketing their products through social media channels and YouTube, both of which have seen a huge increase in traffic.
Some industries and companies have become so creative that they’ve managed to bring their entire business model online, and are now flourishing on the web. Counseling centers are offering online sessions while physicians and dentists are conducting some of their consultations online. Local entertainers are offering online concerts, and we’ve seen an explosion of online learning centers and educational outlets. Nonprofits and religious organizations are investing in premium video streaming and finding new digital ways to connect with their members via Zoom, Facebook, and Google.
Is It Worth The Shift?
From the reports of healthy companies who are continuing to grow, yes! It’s definitely worth shifting your marketing to navigate our “new normal”. If you haven’t found your new marketing strategy during the downtime, now is the time to start. It may take some creativity and brainstorming, but you can keep growing even in a pandemic.
Start by emphasizing your digital marketing and communication efforts by making sure your branding, copy, and content is of great value to your customers. Communicate with your customers both clearly and often concerning the “new normal” of how to work with you. This is where that creativity comes in! Some department and grocery stores offer curbside pickup. Restaurants may offer outdoor dining. Real estate offices now offer virtual tours of homes. Some fitness centers offer outdoor exercise classes. Some nonprofits are creating videos to communicate their mission, while churches are navigating online bible studies and live streamed services.
As always, you have to study your competition to stay one step ahead. If a competitor’s customer base is responding well to their message or a new way of doing business, ask yourself why those elements are working, and use that information to your advantage.
Whether your business is fighting to stay afloat or is suddenly booming, now is the time to acclimate yourself to the new way of doing business. Companies that embrace digital marketing channels are setting themselves up to prosper in a post-pandemic world.
Want to know how your business or nonprofit can best navigate the world of digital marketing? Contact us for a digital marketing and advertising consultation, and let’s present your passion to the world.