With the onset of COVID-19, all of us have been presented with an ever changing and wildly unpredictable landscape. Business owners are left asking themselves: what next? And marketers are faced with entirely new scenarios, forecasts, and objectives. In short, these are extremely difficult and challenging times.  

 

So, how do we adapt when it’s simply not “business as usual”? 

 

While we can’t control how this pandemic will evolve and change over the coming months, we can control how we react. This is a time for marketers to dive deep into ‘crisis mode’ in order to come out at the other end, stronger, smarter, and better equipped. 

 

Adapting to a Changed Audience 

 

While the core audience may remain for many companies, the needs and demands of these customers and consumers have changed. As consumers' lifestyles are adapting to staying at home more, marketers must evolve their marketing strategies to meet this change. 

 

Now, more than ever, marketers must employ mindful communication; showcasing how consumers can thrive, not just survive. 

 

Pivoting Your Strategy

 

Ultimately, if it takes 21 days to create a habit, lockdown has cemented consumers routines for the foreseeable future. In order to adapt, here are our top 3 takeaways

 

1. Going Digital 

 

While going digital is far from new, the importance of having a strong online presence is more important than ever. As consumers face long waits and less accessibility to stores, more people are going online to get their fix. 

 

As more consumers go online, gaps become exposed in the customer experience, making now the time for digital transformation. Organisations must ensure they are creating and communicating value in the current context, as well as providing the best user experience for their consumer. 

 

In order to do so, companies should;

  • Build easy interactions within the site 
  • Make sure URLs direct customers to the information they want and need to know
  • Provide informative and interesting content pieces 
  • Maintain a clear tone of voice 
  • Be transparent
  • Allow for and encourage feedback to be given. 

 

2. Enhancing Consumer Communication

 

The pandemic has taken its toll on the economy, meaning customers have less spending power and will become more selective. In consequence, organisations are forced to reconsider their marketing strategy, providing a great opportunity for companies to develop new effective tactics. 

 

Here are a few ways: 

  • Develop personalised and relevant email marketing. Email content during this time should focus on speed and usefulness, providing consumers with a clear picture of how they will be affected, as well as what your company is doing to adapt. Particularly as lockdown starts to ease across the country, customers need to know what measures are being taken in stores, and how this will impact them when they return to the shop in person. In this, organisations should evaluate the tone of their marketing strategy to show consumers they are empathetic and flexible to their changing needs and demands, rather than providing a generic ‘COVID-19 policy’ email.  

 

  • Invest in content marketing to showcase value to selective consumers. Content marketing is more important than ever - communicating with your audience during a crisis is a vital way of continuing to build and maintain customer relationships. During challenging times, clearly displaying company brand identity and values will be the difference between you and another company. 

 

  • Utilise the power of SEO to improve website rankings. As organisations face difficult times ahead, maintaining company relevance is key to having strong digital presence throughout the pandemic. As some companies will experience growth and an increase in interest over lockdown, it’s up to the organisation to leverage and maintain this as much as possible. Conversely, many companies will have experienced reduced demand and increased competition, meaning it is equally important for them to keep customers engaged. 

 

3. Analysing trends 

 

With new routines and a shift in consumer behaviour, it’s increasingly important that brands are monitoring search patterns and trends. Learning what consumers are searching for and the pages they’re visiting, will allow marketers to fine tune their strategy and meet the demands of consumers more easily. How? 

 

  • Use Google Trends to look for popular searches and trends by simply searching for a term or topic. This will allow you to stay on top of any recent or relevant search trends, and maintain a clear understanding of your content targeting strategy. 

 

  • Check for backlinks using Ahrefs. Using Ahrefs allows organisations to see what their competitors are receiving links for, and if there’s any patterns emerging in the types of coverage being picked up. 

 

 

The Overall Takeaway

 

In closing, COVID-19 has showcased the unpredictability of consumer trends and demands. As marketers have been pushed to new levels of creativity and resourcefulness, one thing is abundantly clear: you never know what will happen. In order to combat this, businesses need to ensure their site is consistently optimised. For instance, a company can produce top of the line home workout equipment - which spiked during lockdown - but if the site wasn’t properly optimised, they missed out on thousands in revenue to competitors. With this, you have to keep your finger on the pulse, keeping track of what’s trending so you can react accordingly. 

 

When it comes to communication, customers are quick to spot inconsistencies and incenserity. If you had no communication strategy during this time, it’s incredibly likely you lost customers along the way, and didn’t gain many new ones. Ultimately, remember to always have a crisis strategy in place, and messaging that illustrates transparency, care, and understanding. 

 

Finally, COVID-19 has shown that people are resilient. As we moved our whole lives online - working, working out, or catching up with friends and family, we’ve been forced to adapt quickly to the circumstances. In consequence, marketers and business should anticipate that many of these new trends are here to stay. 

 

For additional advice on how to pivot your marketing strategy, contact us here or email [email protected].