The global COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created unforeseen challenges that will linger long after it ends. However, it’s also opened the door to newfound opportunities for companies to rethink their marketing strategies to drive long-term business growth.
In an effort to meet consumer demand and bolster a competitive edge during the pandemic, businesses have been investing more heavily in digital marketing tactics in order to reach their target audiences where they spend most of their time—at home.
Although consumer behaviors will continue to evolve for both B2B and B2C companies, maintaining a strong online presence has never been more important for generating high-quality leads, boosting sales and improving the bottom line.
Here are four digital marketing best practices that can help set your business apart from the competition in the wake of the pandemic:
1. Develop a Strong Social Media Presence
According to a February 2020 article from Hootsuite, 43% of internet users leverage social media for both work purposes and consumer product research. That figure has only risen in the wake of state-mandated lockdowns, travel restrictions, and in-person networking being replaced by video calls on Zoom and Teams.
Having a strong social media presence increases a company’s online visibility while ensuring its key messages reach the right people and drive engagement. The more interactions a customer has with a brand, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
However, an effective social media strategy involves much more than the occasional social media post. It requires careful planning, a solid strategy and succinct storytelling. For instance, it’s important to consider which social media platforms best fit your target audience. B2B companies, for example, tend to see greater results with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—so they should craft a social media strategy based on what works best for these platforms.
2. Rethink Your Website Strategy
Just because a business operates in a pandemic-hit market doesn’t mean it should suffer.
The manufacturing industry is a prime example of a market heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although health and safety protocols have drastically altered how manufacturers operate, many have adopted digital marketing tactics, such as a revamped website, to stay relevant and drive customer engagement in the midst of the pandemic.
A recent industry study by Capterra found that 72% of manufacturers use digital channels such as websites and social media to promote their products and services online. Additionally, 51% of respondents saw increased web traffic—and half of that traffic came from geographical regions where the manufacturer wasn’t currently operating.
This ability to reach new geographic regions online opens the door to two huge opportunities—1) different ways to grow the business (e.g., new products/services), and 2) the potential to become a thought leader in that untapped market.
A website that features an on-brand design, easy-to-use navigation, valuable content and compelling calls-to-action will help to attract the right audience, showcase your products and services, and generate more sales for your business.
3. Leverage Content Marketing to Tell Your Brand’s Story
One of the most effective ways to promote your business and differentiate it from competitors is by developing a content marketing strategy. This approach focuses on delivering a consistent stream of valuable, interesting and relevant content to your target audience in order to drive a desired action, such as submitting a form, downloading an e-book or making a purchase.
Businesses across all industries can see a significant ROI from adopting a content marketing strategy—from lead generation and improved SEO, to higher customer engagement and an increase in sales.
Your organization can further build on this strategy by deploying marketing automation software to automate repetitive marketing and sales tasks, such as emails, social media and ad campaigns. This provides leads with highly personalized content that helps to nurture them along the buyer’s journey.
4. Create a Crisis Communications Plan
As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, every organization is vulnerable to the ever-looming threat of a crisis. It’s not a question of “if,” but a matter of “when.” How you respond to a crisis can either make or break your business. However, few take action to prevent or reduce the impact of a crisis during its early stages. In fact, only 49% of organizations have a crisis plan.
By a 2:1 ratio (54% vs. 30%), businesses with a crisis communications plan fare significantly better post-crisis compared to those that don’t. In fact, some even reported revenue growth as a result of their crisis management. Plus, those that keep their crisis plans up to date and conduct crisis response training are 4x more likely to emerge on top.
In order to successfully navigate and survive a crisis, preparation is key. Having a crisis communications plan in place ensures your organization is ready to respond in a prompt, accurate and well-coordinated manner—ultimately minimizing the impact of the crisis.