Resilience and adaptability have always been the defining traits of business owners. Those same marketing skills that helped you build a thriving enterprise are more essential now than ever before. In this era of social distancing, many entrepreneurs worry about lost revenue. Even a lot of online businesses are concerned about keeping their numbers up in a challenging economy. And everyone struggles to imagine what the landscape will look like on the other side of quarantine.
These concerns are understandable. But let’s look at it another way.
Times like these force innovation. Your efforts to sustain your business will inevitably lead to new discoveries.
You’ll find opportunities to serve your clients more completely. If you’re tech-averse, you’ll have no choice but to learn the tools that were about to become necessary to sustain your business, anyway. And hopefully you’ll develop new products or services that cater to the unique needs of a rapidly changing world.
But in order to do these things, you have to be aware of how the digital marketing landscape is evolving. Social distancing changes the way people engage online, and if you know how to tap into that, you have a great shot at thriving through this temporary crisis.
To get a head start, consider these five essential tips for digital marketing during the age of social distancing.
#1: Reassess Your Marketing Budget
First things first. Revisit your budget and determine how much money you have to spend on digital marketing. Remember:
- You no longer need a booth at that trade show.
- People aren’t leaving home, which means not many buyers will see that bus stop ad or hear that radio commercial.
- If you temporarily closed a brick-and-mortar operation, you will likely save on overhead such as energy costs and store events.
- Etc., etc.
It can be painful to lose all the in-person sales opportunities that served you well for years. But most likely, those losses now free up funds so you can power up your digital marketing efforts. You have more to spend on content creation, PPC ads, digital marketing tools, and more.
This is also a great time to review the specifics of your digital marketing budget. The way people engage online is changing fast. What used to be a tool for communication, research, and some social engagement is now a source for . . . well, everything.
People turn to the Internet to meet fitness needs, find entertainment, shop for groceries, reach out to friends and family, work, find news and answers, and do about a million other things. This means the digital marketing channels that served you best six months ago might not be your best asset today.
As you review your budget, remember that social media and video marketing are huge right now. There is also a lot of value in creating content designed to help people find solutions, reassurance, and joy at this time.
Do some research, and reallocate your funds accordingly.
#2: Focus on Marketing to Your Current Customers
While it is always important to bring on new customers, now is the time to focus on turning current customers into advocates.
Many who have a secure income are actually eager to help their favorite businesses stay afloat. Make it easy for them to throw love your way with:
- Special promotions that reward them for making purchases or sharing reviews
- New online products
- Presale products like gift cards
- Virtual services such as consultations, webinars, or video courses
Maintain a steady presence on your audience’s preferred social media platform. Send email blasts to stay top-of-mind for your subscribers. And above all, make it clear that you are there for them. Help your existing customers recognize your business as a client-centered operation and a valuable resource.
#3: Adapt to Meet Your Customers’ Needs
Remember that your customers are also struggling right now. Your ability to anticipate their needs can help you strengthen client connections now and long into the future.
Take some time to brainstorm your target buyer’s biggest pain points.
- Are they worried about making ends meet?
- Are they likely to work in an industry where remote work requires major adjustments?
- Are they essential workers dealing with the anxiety of entering a public space every day?
- Are they economically secure but bored out of their minds?
- Are they struggling to keep their kids occupied?
- Are they anxious about an uncertain future?
- Are they looking for ways to stay connected? Stay fit? Stay sane?
Get an idea of what your customers need right now. Then ask yourself, “What new service, product, or promotion will ease their worries? How can our marketing reflect that we understand what they’re going through and are trying to make this easier for them?”
Also do some research on how buyers are engaging with your market online right now. Does your target audience value webinars? Ebooks? Funny videos?
Once again, the answer may be different from what it was six months ago. We all know that one person who refused to get a smartphone for years and now suddenly they’re hosting parties on Zoom.
#4: Generate New Revenue Streams
You may not be able to do business the way you’ve always done it. Maybe your existing business model depends on in-person interaction. Or maybe it’s easy to make the transition to online operations, but your customers aren’t spending money as freely as they used to.
It’s scary to be in this position. But if you can adapt, it could be one of the best things that ever happened to your business.
Extraordinary circumstances like the one we are in force us to explore new ideas. Let’s say you own a pottery painting shop. Your doors are closed. You’re taking orders for pottery painting supplies, but it’s not enough to sustain your business. After all, it’s the experience that brings people through the doors—not necessarily the pottery itself.
So . . . what are other services you could provide at this time?
Maybe you could create a virtual course in painting or pottery making. Or offer private lessons via Zoom. You could boost online orders by publishing a free PDF of painting patterns. Or put together a subscription box with snacks, pottery painting supplies, and a link to your feel-good Spotify playlist.
You get the idea. And here’s the best part:
When you return to your regular business, you still have these new revenue streams. The thing you did to survive will now help you thrive.
#5: Step Up Your Social Media Marketing Game
Finally, do not underestimate the power of social media marketing.
When everyone feels so isolated from one another, platforms like Facebook and Instagram create a sense of connection. Many people also use these spaces to follow news organizations, play games, share tips for managing anxiety or boredom, and look for entertaining media.
In other words, your buyers are probably spending more time on social media than they ever have before. Definitely do your research before allocating a large chunk of your digital marketing budget to Facebook. But we’re telling you, research will most likely indicate that your target buyers are out there posting, commenting, and sharing.
Take advantage of the opportunity. Post more frequently or consider increasing your paid advertising budget for social media platforms. Work on diversifying your content. If you ever thought you should create a clever video or learn how to create Instagram stories, now is the moment.
This is a challenging time for businesses. We’re not going to pretend it’s not. It’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed. But give yourself a little space to feel excited about your own potential for growth. Remember that all the hard work you put into “getting by” will translate into new skills that allow you to excel in the long term.
If there’s anything we can do to help you reimagine your digital marketing strategy, drop us a line. It isn’t easy to keep up with the evolving trends in digital marketing . . . especially when the online market is more competitive than ever. We’d be happy to help you find sustainable solutions for the company you worked so hard to build.