Specific Ways to Adapt Given the Change in How Consumers Buy Now – Part 2
This article continues where part 1 of this article left off.
Change #3 – Email at the forefront
If email does not currently form a part of your small business marketing strategy, now is the time to change that. If you’ve established a keen database of current/past/potential future customers, email marketing is an incredibly cost-effective, powerful tool to market your business during the pandemic. No leaving the house, no physical locations – just old-fashioned digital. Plus, email marketing historically provides some of the most asymmetrical positive returns in the business world. It’s too cheap and too effective.
As we said, we can’t ignore COVID-19. But whilst updates are important, they should not be the only focus of your email content (especially if it’s sent to customers you want to sell to!)
Here are some COVID-19-friendly email campaigns to add to your mix in 2021.
- Newsletters – Want a laid-back, friendly way of keeping your customers in the loop about your business? Newsletters are the way forward. Think: promotions, deals, one-time offers, discounts – and virtual/physical event dates to grow your business. On top of that, you can tick the box of being ‘human’ by featuring local news stories, share social media updates and get customers involved in quizzes and prize surveys.
- Offer help to your customers – Depending on the nature of your business, you might be able to offer your help to the community. Do you have connections in the business space that can help your customer? Are you running a fundraising campaign for local equipment/vaccine centres? If you can provide any support to your audience, you’ll want to set up email campaigns to reflect these plans.
- Business as usual emails – Strike the balance between being COVID-friendly and Business-friendly emails! Remember: you’re running an operation here, and it’s probably your livelihood. Just be cautious of the language you use: people want empathy this year, and sympathy for their current circumstances (and they still want to be sold to!)
What’s stayed the same?
Yes, COVID-19 has caused a seismic shift in the way small businesses market. But there remain some consistencies to approach. Don’t just start over from scratch after this article!
Your Customers Still Like Your Ads
Earlier, we mentioned a study on sentiment done by Kantar. That same Kantar has a COVID-19 Baramoter survey and it shows that a tiny 8% of consumers believe that brands should stop advertising during the pandemic. As we said, it’s a minefield out there, and some businesses are concerned about offending their customers or community. But this data gives you the green light to go wild.
This will also resonate well with the market because people want normalcy back. They want the ‘old’ way of life back, and that means ads. It means billboards, great TV ads, and physical shopping.
Data is still King
Data hasn’t changed. If your business isn’t paying attention to data to drive decisions and establish marketing strategies, you’re missing out on a great deal of money and growth.
You can collect data in their CRMs to create better visions of your customer and create powerful marketing campaigns using social media content and ads. Using what information you generate with those campaigns, come back stronger with an even more resonant message.
The customer is still at heart
How many emails have you received from small businesses, companies or brands that start with ‘During these difficult times’ or something similar? It’s getting old. Business customers are blind to empty words like this and are finding it harder and harder to connect.
You still need to put the customer first. The pandemic is no longer a shock or something to transition into: it’s reality. Deliver helpful, meaningful, and engaging content. Solve the customer’s issues by talking to them and finding out how you can help.
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a majority of small businesses as having little-to-no marketing strategy. If you’re one of them, that’s great – you won’t have to start fresh. If you’ve been shouting at the wind with no success, it’s time to build a pandemic-friendly marketing strategy that resonates with an audience that’s gotten to grips with a new world. Finally, there’s never been a greater opportunity for small businesses to reach and engage with customers at such an intimate level.