6 Post-Pandemic Marketing Tips for Small-to-Medium Businesses
While the era of Covid may not be behind us just yet, vaccine rollouts and downward trends in daily cases come as a sigh of relief, and a sign that better times may not be too far down the road. For marketers, having the end of the pandemic in sight means starting to get ahead of post-pandemic marketing strategies to ensure success in a changing landscape.
Over the past year, marketers have had to pivot and adapt to the unique challenges of driving sales and engagement during a global health crisis. While the end of the pandemic may bring hopes of some return to normalcy, the reality is that what awaits us after the Covid era is still unknown. Rather than prepare to revert back to their pre-pandemic strategies, marketers must be prepared to employ new ideas and strategies in order to cater to a post-pandemic — yet, totally pandemic-informed — reality.
To better prepare marketers for what lies ahead, here are a few key tips and tricks to guide strategy planning for what lies ahead.
Spend time nurturing your existing customers.
Lead acquisition is always a bit of a conundrum for marketers, and has become especially difficult during the pandemic. And while reaching new prospective customers is never something that should be pushed to the wayside, the increased difficulty in acquiring new leads during the pandemic has created more emphasis than ever on the importance of nurturing existing customer relationships.
Implementing strategies that prioritize customer retention helps minimize the problems posed by slower acquisition because it at least protects your brand from churn. Plus, between the two — acquiring new leads and nurturing existing ones — the latter tends to be a whole lot easier as a marketer. While acquisition calls for selling someone on your product or service anew, nurturing just means that you’re reminding someone who has already bought into your value proposition why they ought to stick around for the long haul.
Create a strong SMS marketing strategy.
As marketers have looked for new digital pathways to reach consumers, SMS has emerged as one of the pandemic’s greatest marketing stars. Offering brands a way to cut through the noise and reach customers directly through personalized messaging and offers, SMS marketing is not only favorable to consumers, but also has a way higher ROI in the long run. In fact, a whopping 85% of consumers would rather get a text from a brand than an email, and data shows that text messages from brands see an average open rate over 90%, which is a lot more than can be said for email marketing, where average open rates tend to hover around the 20% mark.
As many brands have adopted SMS as a key part of their marketing strategy during the pandemic, it’s important to realize that this tool will only grow stronger with time thanks to its proven value as well as consumers’ comfort with it as a casual, familiar mode of communication. It’s rise as a key component of digital marketing will have a long-lasting impact on how businesses communicate with customers. This is what has driven us to put plenty of our own resources into elevating our SMS Marketing product by going above and beyond traditional marketing platforms to offer features like SmartTarget and AutoScrub, which ultimately help guide and optimize SMS strategies for the highest possible return.
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Leverage data to optimize user experience.
The hardest thing about determining the right way to approach marketing in a post-pandemic world is that nobody fully knows what that post-pandemic world will look like. For that reason, experimentation and data analysis could be marketers’ best friends in a post-pandemic era. (In all fairness, they’ve always been great friends to the savvy marketer, but the unpredictability of what lies ahead is going to make them more important than ever before.)
One of the biggest ways that brands can better leverage data is to personalize messaging. Research shows that around 84% of consumers wish their product searches online could be more customized to their needs, while another 70% would actually opt for a digital assistant to make their shopping experience more personalized to their individual needs. By targeting messages to customers based on demographic and user-specific data, marketers can better appeal to consumers’ demand for an approach that caters more to their unique needs.
Another big reason to leverage data? Understanding the new consumer. User behavior and priorities have changed considerably over the past year, and a lot of the changes are likely to stick around (if not trigger even more changes) down the road. For that reason, it’s important that marketers place just as much attention on data (information about their users) as they do on metrics (key results that brands want to track to measure their own success). By doing so, marketers can start to spot emerging trends that will help them cater their marketing plans accordingly.
Boost your social media presence.
The pandemic has made online presence more important than ever for brands, and that’s not likely to go anywhere. As consumers have gotten more and more used to engaging with and receiving updates from brands through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook, the role that social media plays in brand communication is certainly going to stick around given the acclimation that’s taken place around it. This goes for driving conversions through paid and organic advertising, but it also goes for creating a personal relationship with customers, both existing and prospective.
Marketing data suggests that in addition to social media remaining a big part of marketing spend in 2021 — nearly 25% — the majority of marketing leads plan to continue focusing their attention on digital opportunities moving forward, which will mean a continued rise in social media adoption and experimentation. This is especially true because of the shift in relationship building that has happened in the marketing space.
While brand authenticity has always been an important factor in determining brand buy-in and loyalty, the pandemic has accelerated the consumer demand for accountability and transparency. Whether it’s been motivated by changes in personal finances, a greater sense of social responsibility, or heightened attention to sustainability, people are growing increasingly selective about the brands they choose to give their business to. This means that companies and brands are under more pressure than ever to show consumers why they’re a better choice than competitors. And what’s one of the most powerful ways to do that? Using social media to build a genuine, transparent, and more approachable presence on platforms that consumers are naturally spending a large majority of their time using already.
Discover how our Social Growth feature helped one brand gain over 70K new followers across Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube! Learn More
Invest in your company blog and onsite content.
Similar to how you should be using social media to build a deeper connection with consumers through transparency and authenticity, going the extra mile with your onsite content marketing strategy can go an even longer way as far as attracting, nurturing, and converting your leads.
According to data from InMoment, only about 15% of consumers actually fall in love with a brand at first site, while a whopping 80% need a bit more time — and a little bit of wooing, if you will — before they're ready to commit. What this ultimately means is that driving conversions and strengthening retention is about a lot more than just delivering a great product or service; it's also about bringing additional value to consumers outside of the direct conversion funnel. Whether it's an enlightening blog post, a useful knowledge base article, or a helpful guide, content can do everything from serve as a magnet for new leads to keep customers in your orbit through ongoing nurturing. This has always been the case, but because the pandemic has made acquiring new leads and retaining customers an even bigger hurdle, there's no better time to double down on content marketing a a key strategy for strengthening your brand's relationship with existing and prospective customers.
Furthermore, your brand's blog — particularly if it's built as a subdirectory of your main site — can be an important discovery tool because it can be leveraged to boost your core website's overall SEO ranking. By creating powerful content that attracts organic traffic through Google searches and other web queries, your blog can serve as a mechanism for bringing new, qualified leads to your site, while also helping convince them about your value as a company. This is especially critical in a post-pandemic era, when marketers will be trying to figure out the best way to reach prospective customers in a totally new landscape. Driving organic traffic through blog posts takes some of the guesswork out of the mix by helping prospective customers find you, instead of vice versa.
Be ready to keep pivoting.
This last one is a bit of a no-brainer, if a little less directly actionable. Like we said: there’s really no telling exactly what the marketing landscape is going to look like when the pandemic is behind us. As such, it’s important for brands to remain nimble and flexible. We’re headed into even more uncharted territory and while planning a marketing strategy for the future can better position you for success down the road, it can prove to be a big disadvantage when you’re not willing to change things on the fly and in response to unexpected realities.