With the global onslaught of COVID-19, a massive shift has taken place, presenting marketers and business owners with brand new consumer behaviors. In a clever article entitled Marketers Guide to 9 Personas of Self-Isolating Consumers, buyer profiles are broken into 9 behaviors from the “The Bored Homebody who is self-quarantined or isolated are trying to get through this using more entertainment apps” to the “WFH Professionals who are using more productivity apps as they shift to work-from-home arrangements”.
While businesses are resurfacing, the crisis is far from over and experiences over the past few months have determined that we need to adopt a new set of marketing standards to match the new realities of consumer behavior. Here are four digital strategies your business should consider to fine tune marketing efforts.
Provide Value-Rich Offerings
Aside from assuring customers that your business is, in fact still in business, communicate that your goal is not simply to sell, sell, sell. Win client trust by showing them that you are genuinely focused on supporting them. Some value-rich offerings include:
- An hour of free consultation (on Zoom or in person safety permitting)
- Useful articles or white papers
- Product/service discounts or value-adds
- Free industry specific video tutorials
- Faster delivery of your products or services
- Improved customer service through warm and genuine interactions and fast turnaround times
There are a multitude of options to express that you are ready and willing to help your clients succeed. Find those that resonate best with your client base.
Generate and Share Video Content (with your smartphone)
There is no better way to communicate authentic company values and offerings than through “face to face” interactions. With in-person meetings currently on hold for many companies, your have a unique opportunity before you. Let different company stakeholders share meaningful, valuable information, tips and advice through a simple video series shot from their smartphone (conversely share some funny content to get customers laughing, not only is it memorable we could all use a chuckle or two right now). Ensure the message is authentic and ensure natural language is used and not industry jargon. The emphasis should be on the customer and that employees are here as strategic advisors to offer genuine assistance. Your customers will feel a stronger connection with you and your brand, knowing that they are communicating with real people, rather than a faceless company. A recommended practice during normal times, this is especially relevant now. Make sure to share your video content on your website, social media channels, WhatsApp and via email blasts.
Consider Popular Communication Platforms
Building on the human-to-human aspect, there are a number of ways in which you can utilize digital channels to communicate directly with your customers on a one-to-one basis. For example Facebook Messenger ads enable you to communicate with customers in a human-to-human manner as do custom lead-generation bots and next generation live chat tools. With this approach, you can form a more personalized relationship with your customers than would be accomplished if they communicated with you via generic website channels like contact forms. Sometimes though, a live chat (or even a phone call) isn’t enough. People in the COVID-19 era want to see each other, to form a more personalized interaction. For this reason, it is essential to let your customers communicate with you via tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp video.
Monitor What Customers Search For and What Your Competitors Are Offering
User online search habits have changed dramatically over the past few months. By using keyword research tools such as SemRush, AHrefs, SimilarWeb, Google Trends and your very own Google Analytics, you can find opportunities to leverage these changes in search behavior to give your customers what they want. For example in January of this year there were 27,000 searches in the U.S for “cloud computing” while in August it’s risen to 33,000 searches. If cloud computing services are one of your offerings this may be a good time to run a more aggressive Google Ad campaign with a unique offer. In the same vein, if your competitor is running a sale on products or services this may be an opportunity to add your competitive edge. If your competitors are offering 10 percent off, you can offer 20 percent. If they’re offering a 14-day free trial, you can make it 30 days. Take the time to digitally monitor your competition (as well as businesses in parallel industries) to look for opportunities and offerings for your customers and that allow you to stand out in your niche.
This is the time for creative adaption and humanization of your marketing strategy. By using these best practices, you will ensure that your customers remain at the core of your business values.